Dr. Abraham Loo is a practicing surgical pathologist/hematopathologist at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, NJ. He was a fellow in Hematopathology at URMC from 2014-15. Here, he shares more about his career and what makes his work rewarding.
Residency: AP and CP from Madigan Army Medical Center
Fellowship: Hematopathology, URMC (2014-15)
Medical School: SUNY Downstate College of Medicine
Where are you from originally and where do you live now?
I was born and raised in NYC. After medical school, I went active duty in the United States Army and lived out west for eight years before returning to the east coast to do a Hematopathology fellowship. I currently live in Red Bank, NJ.
What was something that made your experience at URMC a positive one?
I really enjoyed my time as a fellow and I left feeling well prepared to sign out heme path cases. I am grateful to have met many wonderful people as well. Dr. Richard Burack was a supportive fellowship director, Pat Leary was a patient teacher of flow cytometry, and Leslie Antinarella was always a kind person in the department. After finishing residency, I did not feel prepared to work with residents, but as a fellow with prior experience as a staff pathologist I enjoyed working with the residents (Sapna, Nisha, Chad, Hani, et al) that rotated through.
When did you first “discover” pathology and what or whom first sparked your interest in it?
I had limited exposure to pathology in medical school and I cannot remember when exactly I “discovered” pathology, but I can say I genuinely enjoy my job. There are good days and bad days, but I enjoy doing impactful work that uses my education and can positively affect people’s lives while keeping me divorced from the emotional aspect of medicine.
How would you describe your job to someone who knows nothing about pathology?
After a biopsy is performed, the tissue (breast, prostate, etc.) is processed and read under a microscope by a doctor, who is the pathologist. The pathologist renders a diagnosis to the clinicians, who directly take care of the patient. If a clinician is concerned for blood cancer (leukemia or lymphoma), I am the pathologist in my practice that looks at those specimens.
Tell us about your family.
I have two wonderful daughters, Calista (7 years old) and Naomi (5 years old), who are my everything.
How do you like to spend your free time? Do you have any hobbies/interests?
I have been practicing Brazilian Jiujitsu/No-Gi grappling since 2006. There are few things as pure as a combat sport, and there aren’t many venues where people from all walks of society can share space engaged in a physical struggle, yet not have any social, political or personal conflicts.
What’s one piece of advice you have for pathology students or trainees looking to start their careers?
Have long term goals in your professional and personal life, but there will be unexpected twists and turns. Don’t neglect your soul on the journey.