Hose Kim’s mother always wanted him to become a doctor, so when she died when he was an MIT freshman, he was committed more than ever to becoming a physician.
“I always wanted to carry on something my mother wanted me to do,” says Kim, now an orthopedic surgeon who recently established at MIT the Toni Kim Memorial Scholarship to honor his late Mom.
“This scholarship is so meaningful because I believe education is the most important thing in this world. And by giving back, it’s my way of not only remembering my mother but also expressing gratitude to MIT.”
In 1981, Kim earned two bachelor degrees from MIT in chemical engineering and biology. (“Friends dared me that I couldn’t finish two degrees in four years.”)
After MIT, he went to the Medical College of Virginia. Then he set out for the University of Southern California, where he did his residency. He practiced with other doctors until five years ago, when he opened his own practice in Whittier, California.
What drew him to orthopedics, he says, was chance. In high school he had a janitor’s job cleaning the office of an orthopedic surgeon. Later, at MIT he volunteered at Massachusetts General Hospital and was assigned to the orthopedic ward, where he played gin rummy with the patients. “The seed just got planted in my head,” he says.
Kim, who received financial aid from MIT when he was a student,” says: “Unless MIT gave me a scholarship, I couldn’t have gone to the Institute. Giving back makes you feel great. You actually feel like you’re making a difference in someone’s life and in someone’s future.
“As I get older,” he says, “I realize that what goes around, comes around. I’m seeing more and more that we need to treat others well. You never know when you may need each other’s help.”