Meet Peter Kang, M.D., Pediatric Neurology Chief
The University of Florida College of Medicine welcomed Peter Kang, M.D., as the new chief of pediatric neurology last month. Previously an associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, Kang was also the director of the electromyography laboratory at Boston Children’s Hospital, where he cared for children with neuromuscular diseases and performed electrophysiologic diagnostic studies. He also started a research laboratory, which he will expand at UF, focusing on the genetics of muscular dystrophy and other pediatric neuromuscular disorders. Kang serves as the principal investigator on grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Q & A with Dr. Kang:
A: During medical school, I found both neurology and pediatrics to be rewarding, and was having trouble deciding between them. Then I had the good fortune of taking an elective in pediatric neurology and realized that I could combine the two and not have to choose between them. That elective was the most interesting experience I had during medical school, and the decision was easy after that.
Q: What opportunities at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital were most intriguing to you?
A: UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital is at a major inflection point in its history, and this is a fabulous time to be here. I see many opportunities to help the division of pediatric neurology grow and diversify. I am also intrigued by the opportunity to help build an integrated pediatric neuromuscular group, with strengths in both clinical care and laboratory research. There is a great need for high quality health care among children and adolescents with neuromuscular disorders such as muscular dystrophy, myasthenia gravis and various nerve disorders. I am excited about the opportunity to collaborate on research projects with a top-notch neuromuscular research group that is already in place at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. I hope that my research activities will help advance the health of children through discoveries in the genetic underpinnings of muscular dystrophy.
Q: So far, what do you enjoy most about working at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital?
A: UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital is the most dynamic place I have worked. There is a palpable sense of pride and purpose among all the colleagues I have met. I walk in to work every morning eager to begin the day and contribute what I can to our progress.
Q: What has been your proudest moment in medicine?
A: I took care of a boy who was very ill with a neuromuscular disorder and who stayed in the hospital for an extended period. Once he was stabilized, he was finally discharged, and I saw him a few weeks later in clinic. As I was escorting him and his mother to the exam room, he asked me with a big grin if I had missed him. I couldn’t help smiling back. I understood only then how much of a bond we had forged during that stressful and frightening hospital stay.
Q: What are some things you hope to accomplish as the new pediatric neurology chief?
A: I feel very fortunate that we already have in place an outstanding team of pediatric neurologists, residents, nurse practitioners, nurses and administrative staff. I would like to help build on that core with an expansion of our ranks in all these categories. By doing so, we can offer better access and more subspecialty clinics to children with neurological diseases.
Q: What do you do for relaxation or recreation?
A: I’d like to resume a regular exercise schedule as I settle in. I enjoy jogging and tennis, and there are many opportunities to do both in Gainesville.
Q: Are there any other topics you’d like to discuss, or insight you’d like to share?
A: I enjoy living in a college town; Gainesville is a wonderful place to be.