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A match made in medical school

By The Health News Team | February 14, 2024
Drs. Frank and Young Tsai of Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group

Drs. Frank and Young Tsai met in medical school in 2007. Now, 17 years later, they’re married with two children and both practice at Sharp Rees-Stealy.

Love typically defies logic, but doctors marrying doctors makes perfect sense. There are shared experiences, a common language and similar values of responsibility to patients.

Dr. Frank Tsai, an ophthalmologist, and Dr. Young Tsai, a dermatologist, are no strangers to the benefits — and the unique challenges — that come with this kind of union.

After crossing paths in medical school, the pair fell in love, got married and started a family. Their journey together brought them to San Diego, where they both now practice at Sharp Rees-Stealy.

Medical school sweethearts

Their story began in 2007, when they met through a mutual friend while attending medical school at Temple University in Philadelphia. “We lived close to each other in downtown Philadelphia, so I used the idea of exploring new restaurants as an excuse to take her out on a date,” Frank says.

They ended up meeting for dinner at a local Chinese restaurant. Whether it was, in fact, a date or not remains up for debate, however.

“She still denies it was our first date,” he says. “In any case, we happened to both be wearing similar green shirts that evening, so it must have been meant to be.”

Bonding over study sessions, the exploration of local restaurants and their shared passion for serving the community, their connection deepened. Frank’s work with the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA) sparked Young’s interest and she decided to get involved. As part of the organization, they participated in outreach efforts for underserved Asian American communities in Philadelphia.

Going the distance

After medical school, the couple took their relationship long distance when they started their residencies. Frank moved to New York for his residency at SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn while Young stayed in Pennsylvania for her residency at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

They wed in 2013, and their next chapter would bring them to the West Coast. In 2014, Frank started his two-year retina fellowship at University of California, San Diego. The next year, Young completed her residency and accepted a position at Sharp Rees-Stealy.

Young’s office at Sharp Rees-Stealy happened to be located next to Dr. Barry Lipson’s, who was the only surgical retinal specialist at Sharp Rees-Stealy at the time. “I like to say I charmed Barry into hiring Frank, but really, Frank worked hard in fellowship,” Young says. “He was hired by Sharp Rees-Stealy in 2016, independent of me.”

The two physicians feel blessed to be able to work for the same organization. Young is emphatic when sharing they both love working for Sharp Rees-Stealy. “We are grateful to have jobs that we love and enjoy going to everyday,” she says.

Balancing marriage, medicine and family

Frank and Young have now been together for 17 years and share two young children. Juggling job demands and busy home lives with kids is no easy feat, but the couple says strong communication, shared goals and mutual respect is key to making it work.

“Medicine has been an important part of our relationship because it has been there since the very beginning,” Young says. “We both care deeply for our patients, and we respect each other’s careers and accomplishments.”

Their shared commitment to providing the best care — both as parents and practitioners — strengthens their bond. “We share common goals of wanting to bring our best as parents every day at home, and our best as doctors every day in the clinic,” Frank explains.

This year, the couple will be celebrating their 11th wedding anniversary and look forward to what’s ahead.

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