Endocrinology & Metabolism Faculty Profile – Gregory Hong

Gregory Hong UVATell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in San Jose, CA, and did undergrad at UC San Diego. After college, I completed an MD/PhD at UNC-Chapel Hill and came to Charlottesville for my internal medicine residency. I then completed a fellowship here as well and have been on faculty since 2013.

Why Healthcare?
I initially thought I was going to be an investigator with minimal time in the clinic/classroom; however, I realized I enjoyed the direct interaction with patients and trainees, and so I shifted paths to a predominantly clinical/education-based career.

What brought you to Charlottesville?
I was impressed with the camaraderie of the IM residents during my interview day and knew I wanted to train at a place where I would enjoy being around my fellow residents. I also loved the area – perfect for my interests (see below), and it is a great place to raise a family (I came here with two young children already).

Gregory Hong UVAWhat excites you about your work?
I think Endocrinology is an elegant specialty – very cerebral (at least I think so), and I love figuring out challenging diagnostic cases based on objective data (e.g. lab tests). Furthermore, many of the rare conditions we diagnose can be treated effectively, and you can witness a positive change in your patient’s quality of life – that to me is very rewarding.

Proudest/greatest achievement outside the professional realm?
My family – my primary identity in my mind is as a husband/father rather than anything else.

Next life?
I will still be enjoying time with my family!

What are you usually doing in your spare time?
I love the outdoors – hiking, camping, kayaking, fishing, etc. I probably spend the most time fishing – either fly fishing for trout in the mountains, kayak fishing for smallmouth bass in the local rivers, or fishing the ocean/sounds at the coast (Outer Banks or Topsail Beach NC), depending on the season. When I’m not fishing, I’m usually preparing something fishing related, typically tying flies at the vise. My desk at home is a total disaster and is covered with all types of feathers, animal fur, thread, and hooks.

How did you meet your partner?
High school sweethearts – sophomore English class! We went to separate colleges and maintained a long-distance relationship for 4+ years until we finally got married in my 1st semester of medical school after which my wife moved out from CA to join me in NC.

Favorite vacation/activity spot?
South Topsail Beach, NC, we’ve been going there at least once a year for the last 20 years, and it’s a cherished family tradition.

Most admired person, and why?
My wife – if there is a kinder, more impressive person in the world, I’ve yet to meet them!

Best advice anyone ever gave you?
There are several teachings I really like. One I’ll mention is “Comparison is the thief of joy”, originally attributed to Teddy Roosevelt; I was introduced to it in a talk I heard several years ago. I believe much unhappiness and dissatisfaction would be eliminated if we all stopped comparing ourselves to others – whether it comes to professional achievements, material possessions, or family situations – and just focused on being grateful for what we have.

What about you would surprise us?
I have four kids, and one (my daughter) is now in college…for some reason, people do a double-take when they learn that. (I must seem too immature to have a college-age kid?) People would probably also be astounded at our monthly food budget – my three boys (16, 13, 10) are eating us out of the house!

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