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  • Writer's pictureJohn Kim

Integrative Medicine and Leadership

One of the reasons I looked forward to working in a health care setting as a leaders was the possibility to work with great leaders and learn from them.


Among many, three leaders [my heroes] who stand out.


I met Dr. Linda Hill when she served as co-residency director of SDSU-UCSD General Preventive Medicine Residency. Dr. Hill is a natural leader who inspires by her presence, integrity, and transparence. I feel like I always knew where I stood with her. After 20 years, I still look back with my two years with fondness and nostalgia. I have worked the hardest, accomplished the most, and learned the most. When she recruited me [preventive medicine residencies do not participate in the matching process], she gave me permission to pursue alternative medicine as my topic of interest as long as I met residency requirements. As a result, I was able to create an integrative pain services for students of SDSU through SDSU Student Health Services and an integrative pain services for St. Vincent de Paul through UCSD. I also wrote a thesis on evaluating evidence for treating cocaine addiction with acupuncture - which later was published. [Kim, Yoon-Hang “John, et al. "Efficacy of acupuncture for treating cocaine addiction: a review paper." Journal of addictive diseases 24.4 (2006): 115-132.] I also met Dr. Vincent Felitti who is the next leader who stands out through Dr. Hill's residency program.


Dr. Vincent Felitti is the expert who observed ACE [Adverse Childhood Events] study which is widely sited and respected. When he lectured about ACE study, I shared that his observations, while novel in the scientific community, was widely acknowledged amongst healers. He invited me to join his team in Positive Choice Wellness Center - Kaiser Permanente and work as a holistic physician. Having been trained in HMO model, having one hour with patient exploring multi-factorial aspect of disease development and solving complex medical problems with mind-body therapeutics. Dr. Felitti was a true visionary who created a preventive medicine solution for Kaiser Permanente saving millions of dollars and saving patient lives. I admire for the longevity he had with Kaiser and how much he was able to accomplish within working in the system.


Dr. Andrew Weil is a renowned expert in integrative medicine. I am most impressed with Andy because he is a genuinely kind person who inspires you because you love and respect him and you would not do anything to disappoint him. They say one thing leads another. I was introduced to Andy's integrative fellowship by another mentor, Dr. Bernie Siegel [pioneer in integrative oncology] who recommended to consider Dr. Andrew Weil's fellowship. Bernie was right! Andy's fellowship propelled my career.


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