Featured Doctor

KIM, Prof Young Sik

Korea – WONCA 2018 HOC chair

Prof Young Sik Kim MD, MPH, PhD is Chairman of the Organizing Committee for the 22nd WONCA World Conference 2018, coming in October to Seoul. Here we find out about him and being a family physician in Korea.

What work do you do now?

I am a professor and chairman of the Department of Family Medicine at University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Asan Medical Center. Our hospital is launching a “home visit program” for long-term in-patients and elderly patients. I’m working hard to make it a Patient-Centered Medical Home.

I have carried out 25 projects in the last 20 years as director of the Korea post-marketing surveillance research group and started new multicentre observational studies with 40 family physicians in 30 hospitals this year. The list of the studies include: “Effect of physical activity on bone mineral density improvement in patients with osteoporosis,” “Effect of dietary habits on the control of blood cholesterol in patients with dyslipidaemia” and “Glycaemic control status of diabetic patients in primary care according to simple sugar consumption.”

Other interesting things you have done?

I turned 60 last December! I published a book about primary prevention of CVD, “Healthcare Recipe of Lifelong Practitioners” for my lifelong patients and had a book concert with approximately 100 registered patients. We had Q&A session, took a memorial photo together, and left heart-warming memories. I handed out the book to all the attendees. Since then, I’ve had three more book concerts and health quiz contests with medical volunteering activity staff, elementary teachers and choir groups at the church.

Read what Young Sik has to say about being Host Organising Committee Chair for the coming WONCA world conference.

What is it like to be a family doctor in South Korea?

The Korean Academy of Family Medicine is a very young society with less than 40 years of history. We had difficulties in the beginning, but the number of family physicians now makes up approximately 9% of all doctors, which is second after the 18% of Internal Medicine. The annual number of new family physicians is approximately 300, which is also second after Internal Medicine.

We are trying to strengthen competitiveness of family physicians rather than just increasing their numbers. Unlike many countries in Europe, patients or family members are not assigned to a certain doctor in Korea, so patients visit various clinics and “doctor shopping” often happens. Our academy is making every effort to establish an official “family physician system,” in which patients are registered to a certain doctor and discuss their primary health issues with that doctor. I hope it becomes reality in the near future.

What are your interests outside work?

For the past 10 years, I have volunteered as church medical service staff on the first Sunday of every month. I’m also teaching elementary students in my church. As head teacher in Sunday school, I took part in our Christmas musical with 3rd and 4th grade students. I was really touched when the kids did so well on the stage! My wife and I are also members of the church choir, and we are enjoying practicing for the “Easter Cantata” in April.