Mayo Clinic Alumni Association – Know your Board – Daniel Chan, M.D.
Provides leadership | Makes policy decisions | Decides strategic direction and vision
Daniel Chan, M.D. (MED ’11, I ’14, CI ’15, GI ’17)
Medical director, West Oahu Gastroenterology
The Queen’s Medical Center, West Oahu
Assistant clinical professor of medicine
University of Hawaii
Ewa Beach, Hawaii
Fellowship: Gastroenterology and hepatology; gastroenterology and hepatology clinician investigator, Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education, Rochester, Minnesota
Residency: Internal medicine, Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education
Medical school: Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota
Undergraduate: Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
Native of: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
My sister, who is eight years older than I am, went to medical school and served as an inspiration to me.
In college, I was an electrical engineering major. I had a passion for science but realized that my personality was more social. I craved interactions with people that engineering didn’t offer. Midway through college I became more introspective and my sister’s path gave me the idea to explore medicine. She stopped medicine after medical school to stay home with her children. I finished what she started.
Why Mayo Clinic
I was looking for medical school opportunities that were affordable, highly ranked and prestigious. Mayo fit the bill and offered many opportunities beyond medical school — residency and fellowship. I have to admit I couldn’t pick out Minnesota on a map before visiting Mayo. I flew into the Twin Cities and drove to Rochester for my interview. As I began to see corn and soybean fields, I wondered what I had gotten into. However, bar none, Mayo exceeded my expectations compared to everywhere else I interviewed.
I had great teachers and mentors in medical school, residency and fellowship that made all the difference in my career. It was fortuitous chance that I applied to Mayo and a stroke of luck to have had that opportunity.
I was awestruck and dumbfounded that such a highly regarded, comprehensive medical institution could exist in the middle of nowhere. I was amazed at Mayo’s efficiency and organization, including the physician governance. I continue to be amazed at how Mayo maintains such strong physician leadership that steers the organization in clinical practice, research and education.
I have a general GI practice and spend half my time in the clinic and half performing endoscopy. I tell my kids that endoscopy is like playing video games — using a controller and monitor to look for polyps; the prize is removing them to reduce the risk of colon cancer.
A regional difference in our practice in Hawaii is a higher prevalence of stomach cancer because our population more closely resembles that of Asia and requires us to individualize our practice of medicine based on ethnic and racial differences. Also being the only state in the tropics, we see more infectious diseases such a H. pylori and GI bleeding associated with ulcerations from it. Further, I have made a novel observation of eosinophilic granules during colonoscopy that are associated with schistosomiasis and strongyloidiasis — parasites related to tropical disease. Dr. Chung and I are collecting these mutual patients into a case series for publication. I enjoy seeing differences in medicine that are due to these unique regional and geographic differences.
Practicing medicine in Hawaii can be challenging. We don’t always have the subspecialists or expertise, which can make it difficult to get diagnoses and care. I’ve used my connection to Mayo Clinic to refer patients to help in management of complex diseases and make elusive diagnoses.
I was surprised to learn there were so many alumni in Hawaii who I stumbled upon. Joseph Chang, M.D. (I ’08, GI ’11), was a GI fellow when I was a fourth-year medical student, and we kept in touch throughout the years. Our GI group at our medical center also has Mayo Clinic alumni including Scott Kuwada, M.D. (I ’91, GI ’94), who is our GI division chair; and Larissa Fujii-Lau, M.D. (I ’11, GI ’14), who I had trained with during fellowship. Almost half of the GI physicians in our group are Mayo Clinic alumni. We are united by a common standard of practice and level of care. Additionally, I frequently interact with Mayo Clinic alumnus Heath Chung, M.D. (INFD ’10), in Infectious Diseases at our hospital, and when I first arrived in Hawaii and looked for a primary care provider, I found Andrew Dang, M.D. (I ’91), another Mayo Clinic alumnus who is my internist. Despite being so far from Minnesota, I seem to be surrounded by Mayo Clinic alumni everywhere here in Hawaii.
There are probably many more alumni in Hawaii who I don’t know about. I hope to better integrate alumni locally and regionally. I’m trying to organize a group of alumni in Hawaii so we can get to know each other and network. We share a common foundation, core mission, values and a standard that we assume of each other. I hope to bring youthful passion for socializing and networking to the Alumni Association Board.
I have been happily married for 16 years, and my wife and I have sons ages 14, 12, 10 and 6. We enjoy exploring Hawaii and all it offers — hiking, water sports, beaches and culinary opportunities. I like being a dad not fully consumed by work.
I like landscape photography, which I started pursuing in medical school. I’ve had some of my photos published and featured on the walls of my hospital.