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Health Fair Scheduled for Korean Community


April 24, 2007  |  

UCSD Medical Center physicians offer their talents... and lend an ear

Open, honest communication between a patient and physician can make the difference between good and great medical care.  This can be especially challenging when the patient and physician don’t speak the same language.

With that in mind, University of California, San Diego (UCSD), Medical Center physicians and faculty members, with ties to the Korean community, will present a Health Fair in Koreatown on Saturday, May 12, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., at the Korean Hope Church of San Diego, 4665 Mercury Street, San Diego.

Joon Choi, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine and Director, Interventional Cardiovascular Medical Resonance, organized the fair.

“Because of language and cultural barriers,” Choi said, “I thought this type of health fair would be very helpful for the Korean community.  I wanted to present information to the people in the ‘Asian way.’”

Choi, who was born and raised in Seoul, Korea, will translate the presentations from English to Korean. All presenters are UCSD faculty members of Korean descent. 

“Person to person communication is very important among Asians,” said Choi. “Someone will come to our clinic because he learns the good reputation of a doctor through friends.”

Choi says knowing how to communicate properly is also very important.  For example, when working with older patients or those who deserve deference and respect, the Korean doctor would use a more formal or respectful form of the spoken language.

“Another big problem,” says Choi, “is that language difficulties interfere with a Korean patient’s ability to express details of their condition well enough to enable the physician to have a thorough discussion with the patient, make an accurate diagnosis, or sufficiently describe treatment.”

Topics will include neurological disorders, smoking, arthritis, skin problems, and chest pain.  A question and answer period will follow the presentations, again, with Choi translating.

In the practice of Asian medicine, some treatments are much more common than those used by doctors trained in traditional Western medicine.  These include the use of herbal medications, acupuncture and acupressure.  Physicians at the health fair also will describe how they use some of these remedies in their practices.

Volunteers from the Korean-American Medical Students’ Association will take blood pressure readings at the fair for those who are interested.

The topics and the times of the presentations will be:

  • Chest Pain, 6:30 p.m. to 7:05 p.m., Joon Choi, M.D., Ph.D., Heart Specialist, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Director, Interventional Cardiovascular Medical Resonance
  • Smoking Cessation, from 7:05 p.m. to 7:40 p.m., by Sean Park, M.D., Internal Medicine, Staff Physician, VA San Diego Healthcare System
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis:  What is the Difference?, from 7:40 p.m. to 8:15 p.m., by Susan Lee, M.D., Joint Specialist, Assistant Adjunct Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology
  • Skin Aging, from 8:15 p.m. to 8:50 p.m., by Walter Nahm, M.D., Ph.D., Skin Specialist, Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine, Division of Dermatology
  • Common Neurological Disorders, David Song, M.D., Ph. D., Specialist in Movement Disorders, Assistant Professor, Department of Neurosciences, Director, Movement Disorders Clinic/Parkinson’s Disease Research Center

Choi is an interventional cardiologist who performs angioplasty for clearing blocked arteries to the heart.  His interests include studies of the use of medical therapy and devices for treating patients with heart and vascular disease.  His research focuses on the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for cardiovascular intervention.

After receiving his medical degree in Korea, Choi completed his residency and internship at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, was a fellow in interventional cardiology at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, and in cardiovascular medicine at the University of Florida in Jacksonville as well as Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University, Boston.

Media Contact: Kimberly Edwards, 619-543-6163,



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