The Road to Residency — Kelvin Lim: Service Through Medicine | School of Human Medicine


May 1, 2023

Kelvin Lim and his grandmother.As a boy, Kelvin Lim lived in South Korea with his grandmother. His grandmother attended church daily and often provided meals for the community.

Twenty years later, he will be graduating from the University of Human Medicine, and he is still guided by her example.

“My grandmother always said, ‘Take care of yourself, but think of your neighbors,'” he recalls.

When he was 11, Lim moved to the Los Angeles area to join his father, who had arrived years earlier. His first few years were not easy as he struggled with a new culture and an unfamiliar language.

“I felt like I was falling behind academically,” he said. “I definitely pushed myself and worked hard to improve and learn. My dad was the driving force.”

By the time I was in high school, I was doing well enough to get into George Washington University. His desire to serve in the federal seat drew him to politics.

But then he realized, “Really, politics is a long way.”

He decided medicine was his calling in his junior year and was intrigued while working as a medical scribe, following in the footsteps of doctors and copying their notes. He graduated with honors in Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences and Pre-Medicine.

Kelvin Lim in front of the MSU College of Human Medicine sign.Back in Los Angeles County, he earned a certificate as an emergency medical technician and served as an ambulance crew in some of the area’s most crime-ridden neighborhoods.

“Serving the public has been a great experience,” says Lim, but it has also resulted in higher rates of burnout.

He enrolled in a human medicine college, initially thinking he would specialize in emergency medicine, but later became drawn to urology. Unlike emergency medicine, urology can provide continuous care to patients. But he also knew that competition for urology residency was tough.

During his third and fourth year of medical school, he took a year off to accept a research fellowship in urological oncology at Houston Methodist Hospital, partly because he was treated for invasive cancer with radiation and immunotherapy there. For leading ongoing research into the treatment of bladder cancer.

Back in Grand Rapids, where he spent the last two years of medical school, Lim found that his first choice was accepted for a urology residency at the University of Rochester Medical Center and Strong Memorial Hospital.

His grandmother, who plans to visit South Korea before he begins his stay, is proud of him, Lim says, and he modestly admits that he is somewhat satisfied.

“I’m kind of patting myself on the back,” he said.

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