Victor Chen MD joins Ketchikan PHMG Psychiatry
November 02, 2018
The new PHMG Psychiatrist grew up in a suburb of Los Angeles after his family moved there from Taiwan when he was five. He went to the University of California at Berkley for his undergraduate degree in Biology and, after a stint as an ambulance EMT, went to medical school at the University of Cincinnati. He returned to California for his residency at UCLA-San Fernando Valley.
But he was looking for something else. He did not want “an ordinary life.”
Dr. Chen attended a medical conference in New York City just before coming to Ketchikan to discuss working here. “I went from a place that’s the center of the universe to a place on the edge of the universe - and I mean that in the very best way,” he said.
“I got off the plane in July and it was love at first sight.”
Dr. Chen began seeing patients last week and is making progress meeting and treating people. PHMG Psychiatry had been without a permanent provider since July.
“I love my work,” he said recently. “It’s challenging. There is a stigma in society about mental illness. We don’t blame people who have cancer. No one chooses to have mental illness.
“I started medical school intending to become an OB/Gyn but when I did my psychiatric rotation I knew that was where I should be.
"Most other specialties in medicine are better worked out; there are more precise treatment algorithms available to guide you. But in my work, there is a lot more art to the medicine. No two peoples' brains are the same, and no two people are ever depressed in quite the same way or for the same reasons"
“You know,” he said with a smile, “the brain is the last frontier of medicine. It’s like Alaska in that way. We are just starting the scratch the surface.”
He met his wife Shelly Chen while in med school. She is familiar with small town life having grown up in rural Kentucky. Dr. Chen said they both like that Alaska is a place for non-conformists where “people color outside the lines.”
She is an at-home mother to their three-year-old son and one-year-old daughter.
“We like to hike,” said Dr. Chen, “and we wanted to live by the ocean. This is good place for us. We look forward to exploring all the trails in the area. I liked to fish when I was a kid. We’ll do that too.”
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