HumAnes of UCLA: Joe Hong, MD

Joe Hong, MD and family in Taiwan

Where did you grow up? Where did you complete your education and training? I was born in Taiwan and immigrated to the United States when I was 8 years old. I lived in Idaho for a year, then moved to California, and grew up in Torrance. I went to UC Berkeley for my undergrad and Boston University for medical school. I did my residency at UCLA.  I am currently PGY-22, and I am not sure when I will graduate!

What was your childhood dream? My childhood dream was to be an astronaut and to be the first person on Mars.

What is your favorite way to spend a day off? Running, then eating!

What is your favorite book or movie, and why? My favorite author is Douglas Preston, and naturally, my favorite book series is the Pendergast saga by the same author. I love mysteries, and Special Agent Pendergast is the modern-day Sherlock Holmes. My favorite movie is Blade Runner. This film is a thought-provoking exploration of humanity, identity, and the nature of existence.

Joe Hong, MD at Boston marathon with family

Tell us a little about your family (and any pets). My wife and I have three young adult children—our youngest are twins who are graduating from college this spring. My daughter is an amazing distance runner. She was the team captain and MVP and still holds the outdoor 5K record at Penn. We also rescued a golden retriever mix named Toby in 2008. Sadly, we lost Toby to old age last spring, and we are hoping to add a new furry friend to our family this year.

How would your friends or family describe you? Kind.

What is one thing that you're really bad at? On the flip side, what's one thing that you're really good at? I’m really bad at saying no to things, which has often landed me in sticky situations. However, I am a grinder and will ultimately make the best of any situation.

What career advice would you give to your younger self? Life is short, the road is long… Hurry.

What has been your favorite vacation destination so far? Taiwan – it’s my home country.  It is beautiful, offers amazing delicacies, and is full of fun!