Sing Yun Chang, M.D.
What attracted you to pathology?
Pathology is visually attractive and stimulating. The colorful images made studying and understanding diseases far more interesting than those arid internal medicine textbooks.
The diagnostic process in pathology is similar to that of a detective at work: collecting clues, deciding which ones fit the big picture (or don't) and making sense of all the information.
The incorporation of vivid and artistic images with problem-solving skills was the winning combination.
What attracted you to Mayo Clinic for fellowship training?
Initially, I was considering applying for a gynepathology fellowship, but I soon realized it was a popular choice among many senior residents. Perhaps this tickled my inner heretic — I was not excited at the idea of following that same old path and started to look for other options. My mentor at that time was the senior pulmonary pathologist and he highly recommended the Pulmonary Pathology Fellowship at Mayo Clinic.
In addition, I enjoyed the challenge of intraoperative consultation and frozen sections during residency. So when I heard Mayo Clinic had the reputation of "freezing everything," it became clear to me that a combo of surgical pathology and a lung fellowship would make a pretty amazing learning experience. And I was right, of course.
What makes the Mayo Clinic Pulmonary Pathology Fellowship unique?
Mayo Clinic has the ideal blend of non-neoplastic and neoplastic lung cases and a high-volume consultation service, offering extensive exposure to the most common and difficult questions.
The lung working group is composed of members with diversified backgrounds, all with vast experience in this field. While there is an overall diagnostic unity in the whole group, each member brings his or her own unique lens through which to approach the cases. Most importantly, the members can agree to disagree, which sets a collegial and harmonious environment.
This fellowship therefore provides a rich and solid knowledge base for independent practice once the trainees are "unleashed" into the real world.
Did anything surprise you about Mayo Clinic?
It is definitely how efficiently and effectively things get done in most departments. From visa application to running a research project, there is supporting staff throughout the entire process, and you never feel left on your own.
What is living in Rochester, Minnesota, like for you?
Because I grew up in a big, multicultural city, finding out that "downtown Rochester" is almost synonymous to "Mayo Clinic" was truly a culture shock to me. But I got over it in no time.
Everything one may need for daily activities is easily accessible and the commutes are short. Because Mayo receives trainees from around the world, the institution itself is very multicultural and offers opportunities to make international friends and networks. Rochester houses some very nice restaurants and is not very far from the Twin Cities, which is great for a day trip when time is limited.
I have learned to appreciate the calmness of this small city — less is more and slow is fast.
What does your future look like right now?
After my fellowship training at Mayo, I practiced in an academic center in Toronto for two years with a fun group of pulmonary pathologists and diversified cases, including a very busy transplant service. Now, I am transitioning into a general practice in a community center in British Columbia.
The future looks pretty interesting right now, with lots to learn and loads to discover!