Neither science nor medicine were favorite subjects for Mel when he was in high school although he was talented in mathematics, physics, and biology. Growing up in a low-income country with a low-quality education, he had no clue on career orientation nor what he could do after high school. However, he received a government scholarship to do medicine in 2003 due to his outstanding grades. He also completed a Bachelor of Arts in English Language, which furthered his appreciation for English literature in science and medicine. With opportunities to pursue additional education abroad, he became more interested in science and medicine. As a physician in a low middle income country, Dr. Mel is most interested in the science underlying public health, global health and the improvement of health care services and systems in his hometown.
Dr. Mel earned his internal medicine degree in 2012 from the University of Health Sciences in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. His international collaboration in radiation oncology and the national cancer center project in the country gave him a chance to work with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, to receive a training in pediatric radiation oncology and to be informed about the St. Jude Global initiative, hence this MS in Global Child Health.
Dr. Mel was awarded the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship in 2013 to do a master training in radiation oncology in Ghent University Hospital, Belgium for two semesters. He was also awarded the International Atomic Energy Agency Fellowship to undergo a 4-year radiation oncology residency in the Philippines.
Dr. Mel currently works in the National Cancer Center, Calmette Hospital where he is a Radiation Oncologist. One of the three radiation oncologists in the center, Dr. Mel sees and evaluates cancer patients and is involved in the multidisciplinary discussion for the management plan of the center. He indicates and plans the radiation therapy and evaluates patients during and after treatment. At the moment, he is the sole radiation oncologist tasked to treat pediatric cancer patients in Cambodia. In addition, he is actively involved with international collaboration such as with the Asia Pacific Radiation Oncology Special Interest Group, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the SIOP-PODC Pediatric Radiation Oncology in Low-Middle Income Countries.
“St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as an institution has impressed me on professionalism, ethics, proactivity and productivity in the workplace, and this helps me understand and further explore my meaningful purpose in life,” he said. “The competency-based curriculum of the program really gives me hope that I will be able to work more effectively and make impactful progress in my profession.”
MD - University of Health Sciences, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Modernization of Radiation Therapy in Cambodia. GlobalRT Blog Sep 14, 2017. http://globalrt.org/blog/modernization-of-radiation-therapy-in-cambodia/