They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, but growing up in El Paso, Texas, Dr. Chan was determined not to follow in his urologist father’s footsteps. “I thought there was no way I’d do that,” he admits. “I think some kids just don’t want to do what their parents do. It’s normal.”
Instead, the high-school valedictorian spent his first year at Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a chemical engineering student until he decided genetics, biochemistry, and biology were a better fit. In medical school at the University of Pennsylvania, he considered being an ophthalmologist, but a rotation in urology changed his mind.
“I liked urology because it’s a good mix of surgery and medicine,” he says. He honed his skills during a urology fellowship at the University of Southern California. “Rather than treat chronic conditions that can’t be cured, urology is a field where I can really fix a patient’s health problem. If a person has kidney stones, we can remove the stones and the patient feels great. If they have prostate cancer, many times the cancer can be completely removed and they are cured.”
As a founder of Urology Partners, Dr. Chan listens carefully to the concerns of the men and women he treats. “There’s nothing worse than going to a doctor who doesn’t listen and spends the whole time looking at their computer,” he says. “I pay attention. I want my patients to know I’m going to take great care of them and do my best to make sure they do better after seeing me.”
His easy-going manner and sense of humor help, too. “A lot of my patients actually call me by my first name,” he notes. “I think it’s because they have a real comfort level with me, and that is really rewarding.”
An avid foodie and travel enthusiast who has journeyed to all seven continents, Dr. Chan documents his food adventures on his Instagram page. And for the record, he is perfectly okay with the fact that his son has no interest in medicine and is studying computer science at the University of Texas at Austin.