Getting to know: Dr Ryan Chua
‘Go for it!’ is his advice to those considering participation in AO CMF Asia Pacific’s Young Surgeon Professional Development Program
Great news for residents and trainees! Have you ever thought of getting away from the college/university for a while and experiencing other CMF centers?
Ryan Chua, MD, DPBO-HNS, who is with the Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, at University of Santo Tomas Hospital in Espana, Manila, Philippines, is implementing what he has learned during his program in the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taiwan in 2016.
Where are from?I am from Manila, Philippines.
Where do you work?I am currently with the University of Santo Tomas Hospital and am Chief of Clinics with Integrity Medical and Aesthetic Center in Manila.
What was your first experience with AO CMF?My first experience with AO CMF was back when I was a resident. Our department was headed by Dr Francis Roasa, our chairman at that time, and we hosted the basic course in Manila. As residents, we helped out with the general organization of the course and I was part of the logistics team.
Why did you apply for the AO CMF Asia Pacific Young Surgeon Professional Development program?
I heard about the AO CMF Young Surgeon Professional Development Program from Dr Francis Roasa and Dr Ferdinand Pamintuan.
I thought that it was a very neat program to be expose to early on, especially the opportunity to learn in a high-volume medical center. I was looking to develop a new mindset or gain me a fresh perspective of how I can be better as a surgeon.
Where and when did your program take place?
I was at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital from mid-June until the first week of July in 2016.
What is this hospital famous for?
It is known for plastic and reconstructive surgery.
What were the most valuable lessons you learned during that time?
I think resourcefulness and being able to adapt in certain situation were the main lessons I learned. I was assigned to Prof Yu-Ray Chen but, unfortunately, he was in conference outside the country. So, I had to make the most out of my rotation. I got inside of an operating room for a CMF case and befriended a surgeon, Dr Liao Han Tsung, who very kind and allowed me to scrub in on his cases. I learned a lot from him.
How are you applying these lessons to your everyday work?Well, resourcefulness is very important, especially in a third-world countries. There are certain situations that call for us surgeons to improvise, so having a mindset of making the best of a poor situation helps you and your patient.
How do you think the experience has helped you—or will help you—in your career?It has helped me a lot in my life. There are lessons that your books—and even your professors—cannot teach you. It is sometimes better to be exposed to situations outside of your comfort zone, in a new setting. Such experiences make you think about and question your current practices.
What would you say to young surgeons considering applying for an AO CMF Asia Pacific Young Surgeon Professional Development program?Three words: Go for it! You will never regret it!
What dreams do you have for the future?I want to be the best ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon there is.
What will you do next?I am currently undergoing additional training in rhinology at Jikei University Hospital in Japan. I will be finished around October
Tell us about the most important experience in your life as a surgeon.We often underestimate the importance of being a good physician or surgeon, and how to treat the patient holistically. There are a lot of things that we need to do aside from cutting inside the operating room. We have to be a good, five-star physicians.
I have remained in contact with my patients from my residency, especially one head and neck patient who underwent laryngectomy. He was so depressed after surgery and would often have his daughter message me ask about certain things. I always made it a point to try to comfort him and reassure his concerns.
If you weren't working in the medical field, what would your dream job be?I always enjoyed advertising—or something related to movies or the arts.
Do you have a mantra or favorite saying?I don’t actually, but I always believe in working hard is good but working smart is better.
In a few words, what does AO CMF mean to you?AO and AO CMF mean a lot to me. Both of our department’s past and current chairmen, Dr Roasa and Dr Pamintuan, are AO CMF members. They are people whom other doctors in our community admire. They exemplify what an AO CMF ambassador and a well-rounded physician should be. In this process, I met Jenny Cheng from AO CMF in Hong Kong; she is a very responsible and kind woman who helped me through the process during my rotation and we have been friends ever since. As the matter of fact, we met up recently when I was in Tokyo for training. Also, through my AO CMF program, I met Professor Takeshi Miyawaki, whom introduced me to Prof Nobuyoshi Otori, which is my current mentor here in Japan.
I want to thank Dr. Roasa and Dr Pamintuan, as well as AO CMF Asia Pacific’s Jenny Cheng and Naoko Kawai and the rest of the AO community for giving me this opportunity to rotate and learn AO concepts in one of the best centers in Asia.
Being among good and talented doctors inspires you to want to become better. Through AO CMF, I have not only learned the AO Principles, but how one group can come together—even if its members are from different specialties—to work on the same goal. No politics, no red tape, no egos. Everyone just wants to improve the standard of care among all CMF doctors. And I believe that this way of thinking should be adapted everywhere to improve the lives of our patients.