Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Peter Kim

 Dr. Peter Kim

Clinical Associate Professor, General Surgery, UBC

Why did Dr. Kim pursue a career in medicine and more specifically, the area of hepato-pancreato-biliary (HPB) surgery?

For Dr. Kim, the technical aspects of surgery are interesting and the (often) quick transformation of the patient’s health after having transplant surgery is both satisfying and rewarding. It was watching his father undergo a successful liver transplant at Vancouver General Hospital influenced his decision to pursue HPB surgery.

What does he consider to be the biggest advance in HPB in recent years?

Laparoscopic surgery has allowed the patient to recover faster and with smaller incisions. They also now have the techniques for more complex resections allowing for tumors, which previously could not, to be removed.

During his time at UBC as a resident, he was awarded the W.H. Sutherland Memorial Prize for Outstanding Resident in General Surgery. He was also the recipient of the Department of Surgery’s Best Resident Teacher Award. What does he find the most rewarding about teaching learners?

 Dr. Kim finds it rewarding to be part of the transformation of an individual from a novice to an expert. He is appreciative of the added dimension brought about from having learners in the environment challenging the practising surgeons. He is motivated and inspired when he’s training with a resident where their excitement for surgery is palpable.

In addition to your clinical work, he’s involved in research. What is his area of focus?

Dr. Kim’s translational research explores the role of blood flow in liver transplants and how it relates to post op outcomes and complications.

He’s recently moved here from Texas. According to Dr. Kim if there was one thing BC could learn from their health care system to make the BC healthcare system even better, what would it be?

While he acknowledges that BC’s health care system is excellent, as a transplant surgeon he’s impacted by the surgical wait times. He knows that the issue is chronic and complex but says that the more profit-driven health care models commonly seen in the United States often generate the necessary funds to reduce the surgical wait times.

Other than the “job”, in returning to BC, what was the thing he was most excited about?

He is happy to be back in the same city as his parents along with his wife’s family.

Is there anyone that he looks up to or draws inspiration from?

Dr. Kim is very appreciative of the support and mentorship he’s received from many of the VGH surgeons and UBC faculty members, particularly Drs. Chung, Scudamore, Panton and Warnock.

When not practicing or doing research, what does he enjoy doing in his spare time?

Dr. Kim enjoys taking in the beauty of the mountains. He looks forward to the times he can escape to Whistler with his wife and two young boys to ski or hike.