Feature

Centennial Alumnus Takes Trip to North Korea

Words: Miranda Mason

In September, Centennial graduate Owen Lee-Park traveled to Pyongyang, North Korea to explore the country’s medical system with a group from the Korean American Medical Association.

Lee-Park was able to observe and assist in surgeries, as well as interview the chair of Neurosurgery at Pyongyang Medical College.

Lee-Park, currently studying human biology, health and society at Cornell, moved to the United States from South Korea in 2005, allowing him to compare what he experienced not only with the American medical system but also with the medical system of South Korea.

“American doctors go through many more years of training compared to those in numerous other countries, North Korea being one of them,” said Lee-Park. “I think in South Korea students can study medicine in undergraduate and do more training in residency.”

Lee-Park’s experience in Pyongyang has also inspired him to continue to explore worldwide issues dealing with medicine.

“This trip has made me want to travel to and study about regions of the world where there have been some serious political and medical issues. I think that most of the issues in this world arise because people have a difficult time understanding each other,” said Lee-Park.

“Only communication and respectful interactions can lead to fair understanding of other entities, and only understanding can lead to genuine peace. This trip has made me want to be that bridge that leads to more interactions and communication.”

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