Meet ReSurge’s 2022 Laub Fellow: Kristen Pan

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The Donald R. Laub Fellowship program, named after our founder Don Laub, allows for a fourth-year resident in plastic and reconstructive surgery to work with ReSurge for a year to hone reconstructive surgical and research skills. We are proud to introduce our newly selected ReSurge International Laub Fellow, Kristen Pan who is a plastic and reconstructive surgery resident at The Johns Hopkins Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. We caught up with Kristen to learn about her background, work with ReSurge, and goals for the future.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. My father immigrated from Visakhapatnam, India to Cincinnati for his surgical training where he met my mother, an ICU nurse. Influenced by my parents, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in medicine at an early age. I attended the Ohio State University, where I obtained my undergraduate degree in molecular genetics. While at Ohio State, I worked in the genetics department studying microRNAs and their role in regulating gene expression in cancer. This introduction to basic and translational research sparked by interest in becoming a physician-scientist. I returned home to Cincinnati for medical school at the University of Cincinnati. After my third year, I was selected to participate in the Medical Research Scholars Program at the National Institutes of Health. During my research fellowship, I worked at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research where I studied craniofacial sequelae of rare skeletal diseases. Working with this unique patient population with such complex surgical needs led me to pursue craniofacial plastic surgery. I am currently a PGY-3 resident at the Johns Hopkins/University of Maryland plastic and reconstructive surgery program.

What made you want to go into reconstructive surgery?

Reconstructive surgery aims to restore form and function to patients with congenital differences, traumatic injuries, and other acquired conditions. Although the procedures are not lifesaving, the impact of reconstructive surgery on quality of life cannot be overstated. The ability to help patients feel more comfortable and improve their condition to live a full and meaningful life is what I love about reconstructive surgery

Why were you interested in the ReSurge Laub Fellowship?

At the National Institutes of Health, I had the opportunity to work with patients with rare skeletal diseases from around the world. Several of these patients lacked access to craniofacial and reconstructive surgery resulting in a delay of care. Seeing the disparities in access to surgical care sparked my interest in global surgery and drew me to the ReSurge Laub Fellowship. In addition to delivering surgical care, I strongly believe in ReSurge’s model which provides training to local surgeons who are then able to expand their practice and provide reconstructive surgical care in their community long-term

What are you most interested in experiencing and working on during the course of the Fellowship?

I am excited to travel abroad and obtain first-hand experience developing a global surgery training program during the Visiting Educator Trips. I am also looking forward to working with the Pioneering Women in Reconstructive Surgery (PWRS) Program and furthering the mission to support female surgeons through surgical training, leadership development, and mentorship networking.

What are your goals for the future?

My career goal is to become an academic craniofacial plastic and reconstructive surgeon-scientist. In addition to continuing my research on craniofacial fibro-osseous lesions, I hope to continue volunteering with global reconstructive surgery programs in my career long-term.

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We are grateful for our opportunity to touch the lives of those needing surgical treatment worldwide and grow sustainable systems for local surgical teams in low-income countries. However, we cannot make an impact without your support. Donate today to create a ripple effect that changes the world through life-changing, no-cost reconstructive surgeries.