SBC welcomes Co-Medical Director David Oh, MD

October 10, 2013 at 3:51 pm

By Dayna Kerecman Myers 

Stanford Blood Center is pleased to announce its new Co-Medical Director of Clinical Services, David Oh, MD.

Dr. Oh joins Medical Director of Clinical Services Susan Galel, MD and Assistant Medical Director Christopher Gonzalez, MD in providing medical direction for the donor center operations and laboratories. He will also share responsibility for SBC’s Transfusion Medicine training programs.

Dr. Oh brings more than 11 years of experience in blood banking medical direction to SBC. For the past nine years, Dr. Oh has served as Medical Director of the San Diego Blood Bank. Prior to that, he was Associate Medical Director of the American Red Cross Blood Services in the Western Lake Erie Region.

SBC’s leaders have known and respected Dr. Oh for many years. Dr. Galel noted, “Several of us here at SBC have gotten to know Dr. Oh through his role as chairman of the Blood Centers of California Medical Technical Advisory Committee, a networking group of California blood center medical directors. We have been impressed by his strong fund of knowledge, thoughtful approach to blood bank challenges, and his collaborative, respectful style. We are very excited that he has agreed to join our organization. His expertise will help us support and strengthen the services we provide to patients, donors, researchers, and trainees.”

A native of Wisconsin, Dr. Oh earned his medical degree at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine. He completed a five-year residency in pathology at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

At that point, Dr. Oh decided to spend a couple of years doing something a little different. He ended up studying Medical Informatics at the University of Utah graduate school, exploring approaches to making better use of computers in medicine.

During that time, Dr. Oh said, “I learned a lot about process, and standardization, and the implementation of new projects and changes in workflow. All of those skills complement blood banking very well.” One of the challenges he enjoyed was mapping out how to change a paper-driven process to a computer-assisted process – reengineering workflow to increase efficiencies with technology and minimize complications related to new methods of capturing and managing information.

He carried these new skills and perspectives with him when he ultimately decided to continue his training in clinical medicine, after two years in Utah. Under the umbrella of Pathology, he had many potential paths to choose from for his specialization. In the end, Transfusion Medicine & Blood Banking won, and he returned to Wisconsin and completed a fellowship at the BloodCenter of Wisconsin. After a couple of years, Dr. Oh left the snow behind and accepted his most recent post in San Diego.

While at the San Diego Blood Bank, Dr. Oh collaborated with Dr. Galel and other SBC leaders through his work with the Blood Centers of California Medical and Technical Advisory Committee, which he chaired for a number of years. As a result, he was a natural choice when the opening came up at SBC. The timing worked well for Dr. Oh as well. At this point in his career, he is especially interested in exploring the academic environment that Stanford offers.

Dr. Oh started his new role at SBC in late September, and he is happily transitioning to northern California life with his wife and two children. They’ve taken up residency in Mountain House, CA. While Dr. Oh has a long commute, he is making the most of the time on the road by maximizing public transportation options, re-training himself to solve a Rubik’s Cube in less than two minutes, and investing in audio books.

He generously shared two book recommendations for his fellow commuters and book lovers. For science fiction fans out there, he recommends Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas, which he found to be a highly entertaining parody of Star Trek. He also recommends Loung Ung’s First They Killed My Father, which shares her experiences as a five-year-old child in Cambodia whose world was shattered by the Khmer Rouge. Inspired to read this book because it was one of Stanford’s “Three Books Program” selections for 2013,* Dr. Oh found her memoir deeply moving.

His sense of compassion and desire to help others is also reflected in his choice to go into transfusion medicine. The SBC community is grateful that he followed the path to blood banking, and Stanford.

*Stanford has a cherished tradition of mailing new undergrads three books on a common theme to read before new student orientation. During orientation, new students participate in a moderated discussion of the books with the authors. The other two choices for incoming students in 2013 were Arlie Russell Hochschild’s The Outsourced Self and Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding.