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Growing up, Dr. Barry J. Wu was first inspired to
become a physician by looking at the plaques in his eye doctor's
office. Dr. William C. Caccamise was involved in several medical
missions and the various plaques on his office walls inspired Dr.
Wu's future decision to pursue medicine. They also inspired him to
participate in medical mission trips. Dr. Caccamise showed that
being a doctor was not a job but a calling to educate and serve
others. Dr. Wu's decision to follow his doctor's dedication to
serve others has led him on many adventures across the globe,
including medical mission trips to the Dominican Republic, Ecuador,
Following his residency, Dr. Wu traveled to the Dominican
Republic on Christian medical missionary trips, providing care to
residents in need of basic medical care. In 2003 he traveled to
Panama to complete another medical mission trip. He had the
experience of treating patients in primitive environments and jokes
that he and the other physicians on the trip were placed in
"MacGyver-like situations" in which they needed to provide care to
patients by making use of the limited resources they had at hand."I
was amazed by the resilience of the patients that we treated on the
Dr. Wu grew up in Rochester, New York and is the second of three
children born to Chinese immigrants. He graduated cum laude with a
Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the Rensselaer
Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, and attended medical
school at the University of Rochester. He began his career in
medicine at Yale School of Medicine, completed his residency in
internal medicine at Yale New Haven Hospital and became Chief
Resident. During his role as Chief Resident, Dr. Wu participated in
a course offered by ACP on teaching residents how to teach. The
course videotaped residents teaching so that they were able to view
footage of themselves with the goal of improving their teaching
skills. This course offered Dr. Wu his first experience in teaching
and was an important step in his decision to teach medicine.
"I thought that I always wanted to teach because the word doctor
in Latin means teacher, so as a doctor you are constantly teaching,
whether you are teaching patients or families."
Dr. Wu's first job after serving as Chief Resident was as a
Clinician Educator at the Hospital of Saint Raphael in New Haven,
Connecticut. This was a one-year position before he was to begin an
oncology fellowship at Yale-New Haven Hospital. He thoroughly
enjoyed that year teaching students, and working with colleagues
who were committed to serving the underserved. Dr. Wu decided to
remain in general internal medicine rather than pursue oncology. He
was appointed Associate Program Director of Internal Medicine at
the Hospital of Saint Raphael in 1993. In that capacity, he
recruits and interviews applicants for the IM program and is
responsible for developing curriculum for the residency program, as
well as providing evaluation of residents at their mid- and
end-of-year reviews. He also serves as the Director of Medical
Students in the Department of Medicine at the Hospital of Saint
Raphael. He actively teaches Yale first, second, third, fourth and
MD/PhD students and is involved in clinical skills teaching,
curricular development and evaluation. He has risen through the
ranks to become a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Yale School of
Dr. Wu has been involved with the Connecticut Chapter of ACP
since 1996 and chairs the Connecticut Chapter Medical Student
Activities Committee. In this role, Dr. Wu has planned
opportunities to help organize ACP activities at Yale University
School of Medicine and University of Connecticut School of Medicine
(UConn). He helped establish the Connecticut ACP Internal Medicine
award which is given to a graduating medical student from Yale and
UConn who demonstrate high scholastic achievement, commitment to
volunteering and who have matched to an internal medicine residency
in Connecticut. The $500 award is intended as a way of promoting
internal medicine in the state of Connecticut.
"Passing information on to the next generation is such a gift. I
think medicine is such a mentoring profession, in that you are
passing on not just information but skills, behavior, attitude,
ethics and professionalism."
Dr. Wu's commitment and dedication to mentoring medical students
has not gone unnoticed. In 2001 the ACP Connecticut Chapter
received the Evergreen Award for his work with medical students to
create engaging programs for ACP that provided instruction in
medical knowledge. He has also received the ACP Connecticut
Laureate Award and the Herbert S. Waxman Outstanding Medical
Student Educator Award from ACP. Dr. Wu has also received numerous
awards from Yale University including the prestigious Charles W.
Bohmfalk Award and Francis Gilman Blake Yale Teacher of the Year
In continuing his work with medical students, Dr. Wu currently
serves as the faculty advisor for the Yale School of Medicine
Internal Medicine Interest Group. The Internal Medicine Interest
Group (IMIG) is a way of promoting internal medicine to students at
Yale and the group holds several conferences to expose first and
second year medical students to internal medicine on topics such as
advocacy. The group pairs students with mentors and hosts a panel
discussion where third-year medical students can connect with
fourth-year students who have matched with an internal medicine
residency program. This gives younger medical students the chance
to talk to senior students about the residency application process
and any other questions that they might have about the match
process. Students can join Yale's IMIG as first year students and
membership with the organization continues throughout the student's
time in medical school.
"One of the benefits for students joining a special interest
group is getting the educational materials that will help them
prepare for the board exam. Students also will have the experience
of being exposed to faculty and receive advice on their career
He continues to keep in touch with many of the students that he
has taught at Yale, and derives great joy in learning of their
accomplishments. For example, Dr. Wu was proud to learn that a
former student, Dr. Sunny Ramchandani, who is a member of the Navy,
was recently appointed as a Fellow at the White House after his
experience setting up a primary care training model in Afghanistan.
"It is most rewarding to see your students succeed, even greater
than any of the awards that you receive yourself. To see your
students' struggle and overcome the difficulties with things like
constructive feedback, and then to see them rise from beyond what
you could have imagined is extremely rewarding."
Dr. Wu's connection to his Chinese heritage and his Christian
faith remains an important part of his life. As a junior in high
school, he watched his father lose his eight month battle with
cancer. His father remained dedicated to his faith and his family
throughout the course of his illness and this experience sparked
Dr. Wu's interest in the connection between medicine and faith. He
is currently involved with the Yale Health Professionals Christian
Group, an organization for physicians who want to integrate faith
into their medical practice and is also a member of the Redeemer
Presbyterian Church where he met his wife.
For the past four years, Dr. Wu has served on the Board of
Directors of the Yale-China Association, a nonprofit organization
which partners with a program in Hunan, China to develop a model of
residency training for China.
Dr. Wu believes it's important to achieve a work-life balance
outside of his career. "I think it's important that you recognize
that you are not defined by being a doctor, and it's just one part
of you as a whole person. Being able to experience life helps you
to relate to people better and ultimately makes you a better
June 2011 Issue of IMpact
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