Caring For The Whole Family

By Dr. Eugene Lee
Interviewed by Melissa Moniz
Wednesday - September 24, 2008
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Dr. Eugene Lee
Pediatrician, Internal Medicine

Interviewed by Melissa Moniz

Where did you receive your schooling and training?

I received my schooling initially from the University of Washington medical school in Seattle, then residency in internal medicine and then pediatrics at UH-Manoa.

What is your area of specialty?

More general internal medicine and pediatrics, so it’s more of a family practice.

Do you see about the same number of adult patients and children?

Pretty much, but still mostly adults. But I see the whole family, so everyone from newborns to grandma and grandpa.

What is the most interesting aspect of what you do?

I guess medicine itself is interesting. It’s an honor to be involved, to be a part of people’s lives and their journey, whether it be healing or staying healthy, but also their development. My other interest is in integrative medicine, so incorporating other alternative therapies along with Western medicine.

Your bio also mentioned that you are interested in neuroscience. Can you talk about what that is and what it involves?

My undergraduate and graduate work was in brain research both here at UH and in Seattle. I was working initially with just areas of the brain and what they do, and now I have an interest in trauma to the brain as well as well-being.

What is your job description at REHAB, as both a physician and a member of the medical executive committee?

At REHAB Hospital, what myself and a few other general physicians do is we provide the medical care for patients who are in the hospital, which is other than the rehabilitation care. Our focus is to treat infections, check if they have heart problems and help manage these type of things so they can participate in the programs at REHAB. It’s essentially keeping them healthy and well enough to rehabilitate at the hospital.

Serving on the medical executive committee is more in terms of the physicians and administration working together to provide the care for the patients at REHAB and be able to stay abreast of new developments, not only here in Hawaii but around the world. We have physicians from other hospitals who are involved with that and have input.

What are three tips you would give to an adult or child to maintain good health?

No. 1 is keeping a positive attitude. Part of that is what a friend said once, which is having an attitude of gratitude that you are healthy. The next is just doing simple things that you know are right, such as walking instead of taking the elevator, making healthy food choices. The third is just in terms of seeking ways of accomplishing a goal. So if your goal is to stay healthy, then to work with as many different approaches until you find one that is right for you.

What has been the most groundbreaking or exciting thing that has happened within your field since you started?

Medicine, in general, there’s so much going on. But as far as in my own practice, it’s heartening to see that not only patients but also colleagues of mine are seeing that there are alternatives and other approaches to health care such as acupuncture, nutritional and dietary approaches. It’s really exciting. On the Mainland there is a lot of integration, even in hospitals. Hopefully someday in Hawaii we’ll have that.

What do you see as the future of internal medicine and pediatrics?

It really will be about treating the whole person. It will be treating not just their physical body, but also their mental and spiritual body. So that really would be the basis of healing. There are so many developments that will speed up healing by combining methods and approaches. So instead of just prescribing antibiotics for an infections, but also some exercises and herbs. So that’s what we’ll be seeing more of in Western medicine soon.


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