For the last 20 years, Philip Seo, MD MHS, has trained, worked and conducted research at Johns Hopkins University. As an associate professor of medicine, he also serves in two other roles: as the director of the university’s fellowship training program and director of its vasculitis center.
After graduating medical school from Columbia University in 1997, Dr. Seo joined the medical staff at Johns Hopkins that same year and never left. He jokingly says he’s worked in nearly every position at the school but dishwasher. He completed his internship and residency in 2000, worked as a hospitalist for the next year, and between 2001 and 2002, served as chief resident. For the next 2½ years, he was a rheumatology fellow before being promoted to faculty.
While his clinical background is impressive, so is Dr. Seo as a person. The Rheumatologist (TR) chatted with him about his personal experiences, rheumatology career and vision for the magazine.
TR: Why did you decide to become a physician? Was there a defining moment?
Dr. Seo: My parents are physicians so I was surrounded by [medicine] while growing up. It always seemed like a natural progression for me . . . I very specifically decided to choose a specialty that wasn’t either my mom’s or dad’s specialty. My mom is a pediatrician and my dad is a surgeon. I knew if I chose either of those specialties, I would never hear the end of it.
TR: So why did you choose rheumatology?
Dr. Seo: For the same reason I chose internal medicine. Internal medicine is a great field for the undecided. You get to do a little bit of everything basically. It’s sort of the same way with rheumatology. Rheumatology is a great field for people who don’t want to [specialize on] an organ. With rheumatology, you have to think about everything all the time.
TR: What attracted you to the editor position?
Dr. Seo: I haven’t really been [active] with the ACR until recently. I always tell people I’ve been trying to get asked out to the dance for a while and all of a sudden I got asked by a bunch of people. I now serve as a member of both the Committee on Training and Workforce, and the Annual Meeting Planning Committee. But my tenure on both committees ends next year, so I was looking for another position to stay active.