From academia to the military to community practice (to being a father of five), Dr. Yong Choi literally has a world of experience as a surgeon.
Dr. Choi’s wide range of experience extends to his participation on several committees since joining SAGES as a fellow in 2005. Current chair of the Continuing Education committee, he has also served on the Metabolic and Bariatric and Community Practice committee, the Education Council, and worked with Dr. Rob Lim as co-chair on the initial Military “Working Group,” now the Military committee.
When he retired as a colonel after serving 21 years as a military surgeon, Dr. Choi says, “I really enjoyed growing that group and appreciate SAGES support for the creation of that committee. The support SAGES has given to military medicine has been nothing short of amazing.”
Dr. Choi, who moved from Korea to Houston at age six, considers himself a native Texan. A graduate of the Military Academy at West Point and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Dr. Choi did his residency at Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia. After four years as a General Surgeon, he completed a Minimally Invasive fellowship at Baylor under program director Dr. John Sweeney, who encouraged him to join SAGES and who he still considers a mentor.
During his military career, Dr. Choi served as the Commander of the Forward Surgical Team at Fort Hood and was on the teaching faculty at Dwight Eisenhower Army Medical Center at Fort Gordon in Augusta Georgia. He’s also been to the Middle East four times, including both Afghanistan and Iraq, and says “caring for members of the military and their families has been some of the most rewarding work of my career.”
Now a Chief Medical Officer at St. Luke’s Health-The Woodlands Hospital in Texas, Dr. Choi gave a talk at the 2019 SAGES meeting about the transition from academic to community practice surgery.
Acknowledging the more fun aspects of SAGES meetings, Dr. Choi has also managed to ride two mechanical bulls (without injuring himself) during Main Events. One of the avid golfer’s more safe athletic goals is to “try to play golf in every state.”