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Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center hosts Korean American Symposium

Aug. 17, 2023, 2:33 PM


by Tom Wilemon

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center hosted on Aug. 11 the first of a planned series of events to highlight the diversity of oncology researchers and to nurture networking opportunities for them.

This first event, the Korean American Symposium, featured speakers from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Korea University College of Medicine, the Catholic University of Korea and Seoul National University Hospital.

Ben Ho Park, MD, PhD

“Many times, we put together or lump together Asian Americans as one monolithic group; yet, from my own experiences — and I think from everyone’s experiences in this room — that’s not really true,” said Ben Ho Park, MD, PhD, the Benjamin F. Byrd Jr. Professor of Oncology and director of Vanderbilt-Ingram. “There are, in fact, cultural and other differences between Korean Americans and Chinese Americans or Japanese Americans, etc.”

Park said he plans more events to celebrate diversity, equity and inclusion at Vanderbilt-Ingram.

“My hope is that we will continue on this theme,” he said. “As examples, we could have another for Chinese Americans or African Americans or Caribbean Americans, etc. We will see how this goes, but it is wonderful to see this to fruition.”

All Vanderbilt-Ingram, Vanderbilt University and VUMC members were invited to attend either in person or virtually. The goal is to bring increased awareness of various, diverse groups that exist within and outside of Vanderbilt-Ingram and to recognize opportunities to collaborate and synergize cancer research to highlight that we are “stronger together,” Park said.

The speakers joined Park for a dinner the evening before the symposium. Speakers included Serk In Park, DDS, PhD, professor and chairman of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Korea University College of Medicine; Jung Yoon Choi, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at Korea University Ansan Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine; Bong Hwan Sung, PhD, research associate professor in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine; Silvia Park, MD, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Hematology, Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, the Catholic University of Korea; Youngmin Lee, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Surgery, VUMC; Youngil Koh, MD, PhD, professor of Hematology and Oncology, Seoul National University Hospital; Eunyoung Choi, PhD, assistant professor of Surgery and of Cell and Developmental Biology, VUMC; and Tae Kon Kim, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Medicine in Hematology and Oncology and in Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, VUMC.

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