Dr. Chen decided to go to medical school after volunteering as an operating room translator for Operation Smile on one of their missions to China. Prior to that, his interests were primarily in becoming a gene therapist; researching retinal pericyte genes at Tufts, and studying cancer genes in mice while transfecting genes into cells at Cornell.
Eye surgery came naturally after spending so many evenings in a Boston lab harvesting retinal pericytes from cow eyes. The opportunity to perform reconstructive eyelid surgery brings him that same satisfaction he dreamed about on that one-week facial plastic surgery mission with Operation Smile.
Although born in the United States to Shanghainese speaking parents, Dr. Chen was brought up multicultural, living in Hong Kong and Singapore before returning to New England for boarding school. His research and medical training then brought him slowly across the country starting in Boston, then New York City, Chicago, New Orleans, Columbus and finally Cleveland. He and his wife then relocated in 2006 to Seattle where his wife treats breast cancer at the University of Washington. With the birth of their second son, they made the decision to permanently settle down in the Puget Sound, and Washington Eye Care was formed.
In the past, Dr Chen spent much of his free time traveling, skiing, inline skating, figure drawing, and dragon boating. Lately, he has been enjoying that time with his family.
This interview was filmed while he headed the Ophthalmology Department at Minor & James Medical Center.
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