Dr. Owen Yeh: Eliot Goldings Award in Rheumatology

By Jeff Carlton

Dr. Owen Yeh was learning how to be a physician when suddenly he had to learn to be a patient.

Dr. Owen Yeh
Dr. Owen Yeh

As a second-year student at UT Southwestern Medical School, Dr. Yeh was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder that put him in the hospital for a week. The insights he gained from being on the other end of the stethoscope not only spurred an interest in rheumatology, but also taught him how to be a better doctor.

“When I was a patient, I found that I really valued the time the physicians would spend with me,” said Dr. Yeh, 2013 recipient of the Eliot Goldings Award in Rheumatology. “I know they are all very busy, but a few minutes of them coming and explaining what was going on provided me with a sense of assurance and safety.

“As a medical student, I’ve always made sure to spend a few minutes with the patients to ensure they know exactly what is going on. I know they really appreciate that.”

Dr. David Karp, Chief of Rheumatic Diseases, said Dr. Yeh made a lasting impression on his colleagues when the medical student presented a case involving a potentially novel therapy for spinal gout. Dr. Yeh is known for his willingness and ability to learn advanced procedures typically done by more experienced trainees, Dr. Karp said.

“All of the physicians who have worked with him, including myself, recognize his strong interest in rheumatology for a career and his keen desire to provide the best care for his patients,” Dr. Karp said.

Dr. Yeh’s initial interests led him to urology, where he was a middle author on a study published last fall in the Journal of Urology that looked at whether physician fatigue had an effect on surgical outcomes. He also was involved in an unpublished study looking at the outcomes of minimally invasive, robotically assisted prostate removal surgeries.

He presented a related poster, titled “Robotic Prostatectomy: Functional Outcomes and Learning Curve,” with Dr. Yair Lotan, Professor of Urology, and Dr. Claus Roehrborn, Chair of Urology, at the Medical Center’s 49th Annual Medical Student Research Forum.

Dr. Yeh will continue his training as an internal medicine resident at the UT Medical Branch in Galveston. After that, he said he plans to pursue a fellowship in rheumatology.

Dr. Karp holds the Fredye Factor Chair in Rheumatoid Arthritis Research, and the Harold C. Simmons Chair in Arthritis Research.

Dr. Lotan holds the Helen J. and Robert S. Strauss Professorship in Urology.

Dr. Roehrborn holds the E.E. Fogelson and Greer Garson Fogelson Distinguished Chair in Urology, and the S.T. Harris Family Chair in Medical Science, in Honor of John D. McConnell, M.D.

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