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Edwin Yang: Work, Study, and Play in the USA

15 Feb 2016

I embarked on a 6-week long trip to the US for an overseas away elective in Abdominal Transplant Surgery in Duke University Medical Center. I also fortunately planned and had the privilege on going for a major international scientific meeting, the annual ASCO GI Cancers Symposium in San Francisco, California. I started the trip touring the east coast's New York City, Boston and Washington DC for a couple of weeks prior to the commencement of the elective as it was my first time in the USA! I thoroughly enjoyed the Big Apple, spending New Year's eve counting down to 2016 at Times Square, visiting famous medical medical landmarks and national monuments in the nation's capital. I also had to eke out some time from the elective for my International Foundations of Medicine (IFOM) exam and the USMLE Step 2CS (Clinical Skills) Exam! The most memorable though was the chance to fly out in a private jet on a trans-state organ procurement surgery followed by the opportunity for scrub up for multiple surgeries to implant these harvested organs. I must say that it was certainly a rewarding and eye-opening 6 weeks, probably the most enriching time of my life!

Here are some snapshots of my amazing time in the US:

1. Traveling and Exploring NYC, Boston, Washington DC before the commencement of my elective at Duke

Renting a car to drive around NYC with my awesome classmates!

Bright Lights of Times Square, New York, the City that never sleeps. For these streets will make you feel brand new and bright lights will inspire you!

The classmates (from left) Caroline Chia, Tan Chong Yew, Cao Jinyi and Natalie Wee enjoying a photo moment before going ice-skating at the famous Central Park Ice Rink.

Central Park Ice Rink by night

The famous Mall and Literary Walk in Central Park

Who could say they visited NYC without a visit to the symbol of America and freedom, the Statue of Liberty!

USS Constitution museum in Boston.

Dukies at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, posing under the famous Spirit of St Loius.

Getting some airtime along Boston's Charles River

Brooklyn Bridge, another NYC icon

2. Enjoying the Food

Awesomeness on steroids at the century old Katz Deli in New York! You may remember Meg Ryan here in the movie "When Harry met Sally"


Superbly fresh lobster rolls at Boston's Quincy Market

3. Visiting Other Medical Schools

>Harvard Med wannabe.. Till I entered Duke-NUS of course!!!


>A towering icon of Boston, The Mass Gen, ranked no.1 hospital in the US!

4. Attending a Conference in SF

Touch Down!

First stop, food! Notice what’s in the background? It’s In-N-Out burgers


Keynote Lecture on Upper GI and esophageal cancers

The Portal Triad

My poster and me! Thanks to all the people who made this possible!


Wine 'n' Cheese at ASCO GI Cancers Symposium

5. Sat for an Exam – USMLE Step 2 CS


Finally endured the 7 hour exam and emerged much happier and more relieved at the test centre in Atlanta Gerogia

6. Took an Abdominal Transplant Surgery Elective at Duke

Duke Chapel and the Gothic Architecture stone buildings of Duke Medical School

After another successful organ procurement surgery with my abdominal transplant fellow, the humble but incredibly gifted yet patient Dr Jayanth Reddy from Duke! The man who taught me as much about resilience and a can-do spirit as medicine and surgery!

The operating table with the instruments decked out before surgery in the Operating Room of a hospital in Virginia where I went for one of the organ procurements

Me and attending transplant surgeon Dr K Ravindra, a great teacher and surgeon who was ever so willing to share whenever I had a question, always willing to have me in his operations and clinic sessions! Thank you Dr Ravindra!


Dr Ahmad and Stuart Henry, the awesome people I followed on my first organ procurement run, who were ever so helpful in taking me through the surgery from start to end.

By: Edwin Yang, Class of 2016