Materia Medica Malaysiana

March 22, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 7:50 pm

American dream

Today a respected specialist surgeon in America, a health policy lecturer and an author of medical textbooks, Dr Lee Keat Jin was just a naïve, sheltered schoolboy in Penang half a century ago. ZACK YUSOF speaks to the doc about his struggles and journey to self-realisation

The Star has an interesting write up on a local boy who made good in Malaysia in the filed of medicine.


In late 1958, Lee was enrolled at Harvard University, after an interminable five-week boat trip. However, when he went to Harvard, he found out that nuclear physics was not his strength and duly made the switch to medicine. After graduation, he proceeded to Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, completing his formal training in otolaryngology surgery at Harvard Medical School.

Fast forward to the present day, Dr Lee is now a successful and widely respected doctor who practises and teaches at Yale. These days, he can also be found travelling around the world lecturing on heath policy. In practice for over 30 years and widely regarded as something of a pioneer in his field, Dr Lee has authored several articles and many books and has also invented about a dozen medical instruments, including a drill for pituitary surgery. In addition, he has also pioneered new surgical procedures to treat disorders of the ear, nose and throat.

Now residing in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Dr Lee was back in Malaysia for six days last month to conduct a series of lectures on various health-related issues. Generously taking time out from his busy schedule, he took a stroll down memory lane back to his childhood days in idyllic Penang during a recent interview.

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