Peter Chin, DMS '98
A Journey of Learning
Peter Chin, DMS ’98, arrived at Dartmouth in 1994 with a background in molecular and cell biology and left five years later with an enduring interest in affecting health care from a policy perspective. Those wide-ranging points of view have brought him to his current work as an Associate Medical Director at Genentech, where he designs, monitors, and analyzes data from clinical trials of potential new drugs for multiple sclerosis.
“All the things I’ve learned through my medical training and professional experiences – starting from the basic science and going all the way through to the population perspective – allow me to think about what kind of information is going to be useful in the real world and how you design a trial to generate data that’s relevant,” says Dr. Chin. “It all ties together.”
“The teachings at Dartmouth really influenced the way I thought about medicine and health care,” says Dr. Chin, a San Francisco native who received his Bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley. “I came into medical school interested in a career that integrated basic science and clinical medicine. But by my second year, I became very interested in health policy, health care delivery, and the bigger issues in health care.”
That interest was spurred at DMS by several experiences that raised his sights from the bench and the clinic to the national arena. For two years, Chin served as one of two DMS student representatives to the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Organization of Student Representatives (OSR), where he was twice elected to the OSR’s 12-member administrative board, and served as the OSR’s National Legislative Affairs Chair. He was also named to one of two student seats on the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the accrediting body of the nation’s medical school – a position so demanding that Chin spread his fourth year of medical school over two years, graduating in 1999.
“That interest in affecting health care or health issues from a policy angle has stayed with me,” reflects Chin. After completing an internship in internal medicine and a residency in neurology at the University of Washington in Seattle, Chin went on to a fellowship in the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at UCLA. Chin explains that this small and highly competitive program teaches policy oriented health services research while also emphasizing leadership development. During that time he also served on the legislative affairs committee of the American Academy of Neurology.
“Dartmouth informed all these subsequent steps,” he notes. “It was so good at teaching the fundamentals – all the foundational things that you need to build clinical experience on, from the rigor of our human anatomy class to the emphasis on interview taking and the general physical exam. But Dartmouth also provided the framework that allowed me to think about health care and medicine from a population perspective, which I’ve filled in with additional training.”
Chin also credits DMS with nurturing a commitment to community service in its students. He carries on that commitment through his work as a volunteer board member with APA Family Support Services, a San Francisco non-profit that works to prevent and address child abuse and domestic violence in Asian immigrant families. “I’m able to use the education that a lot of people have helped support along the way,” he explains. “I grew up in San Francisco, so it’s a direct contribution back to the community that raised me.”
Of the path he has taken, Chin says, “It’s all fascinating, that’s my problem. I enjoy everything, and I enjoy the journey because I’m always learning every time I change gears a little bit.”
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