A Chicago native, Dr. Michael Kwan has served both his patients and country for almost two decades. From Chicago and San Antonio to Habbaniyah, Iraq, Dr. Kwan is resolute in his mission to perpetually further his knowledge and skill set to provide patients exceptional transplant care.
Following high school, Dr. Kwan attended Johns Hopkins University and received a bachelor of arts in behavioral science in 1988. After finishing his undergraduate degree, he returned to his native Chicago and studied at Loyola University’s Strich School of Medicine, ultimately finishing in 1992. At that point Dr. Kwan relocated to San Antonio, Texas to begin his residency at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in both internal medicine and cardiology; he immediately went on to complete a fellowship in cardiology at the San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium.
Following his residency at Brooks Army Medical Center and fellowship in cardiology, Dr. Kwan then completed a fellowship in cardiac transplantation at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston, Texas in 1998. Cardiology drew Dr. Kwan’s interest because of the intimacy the field necessitates in working with and treating patients.
“It [cardiology] was a specialty that allowed me to be directly involved with critically ill patients, and that’s something I truly enjoy,” Dr. Kwan shares.
Dr. Kwan went on to become a staff cardiologist at Brooke Army Medical Center, eventually becoming the medical director for the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, Ambulatory Care Unit, and the Cardiac Transplant Program. The program Dr. Kwan directed was the sole transplant program in the entire Department of Defense at the time. With an impressive list of accomplishments to his name, Dr. Kwan began preparing for his separation from the Army.
“It [cardiology] was a specialty that allowed me to be directly involved with critically ill patients, and that’s something I truly enjoy” -Dr. Michael Kwan
At the time, he was deciding whether he would practice general cardiology or a sub-specialty, and given his thorough enjoyment and fascination with all matters of the heart, Dr. Kwan decided he would pursue general cardiology. Job interviews completed and position acceptance in-hand, Dr. Kwan received a call on Friday in 2003. Dr. Kwan had been stop-lossed. The call that Friday was to inform him he would be deploying to Iraq as a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom that coming Monday for the duration of the operation, though luckily it was not as long as his original orders declared.
“I went from deciding which salary to choose and car I’d like to buy to how many pairs of underwear could I pack in a duffle bag since I’d be living out of the back of a tank for the next few months,” Dr. Kwan recalled with a laugh.
Dr. Kwan deployed as the task force surgeon with the 1st Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st Infantry Division from 2003-2004; during this time, he served as the only physician to an independent, battalion-sized task force carrying out combat operations as a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During his service, Dr. Kwan was awarded the Bronze Star and Army Achievement Medals, and he completed his military career in September 2004.
Following his military service, Dr. Kwan began working as an advanced heart failure and transplant cardiologist at the Texas Transplant Institute and became the director of heart failure training at the San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium. Dr. Kwan also went on to become an associate clinical professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Given the relatively young nature of the transplant field, coupled with instructing upcoming physicians, Dr. Kwan is able to stay refreshed and up-to- date with the latest technologies and methodologies being employed in the field. The ever-evolving nature of the field necessitates a certain openness among fellow physicians that allows them to learn best practices from one another, Dr. Kwan explained.
“I went from deciding which salary to choose and car I’d like to buy to how many pairs of underwear could I pack in a duffle bag since I’d be living out of the back of a tank for the next few months” -Dr. Michael Kwan
Currently, Dr. Michael Kwan is the Director of the Advanced Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplant Program, Chief of Staff at Methodist Hospital and a member of a number of professional organizations. Notably, Dr. Kwan is a diplomate of Cardiovascular Disease, the American Board of Internal Medicine, Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology and the National Board of Medical Examiners, as well as a member of many other professional societies. Dr. Kwan has also been recognized by the Texas Organ Sharing Alliance for his Outstanding Commitment to Organ and Tissue Donation, among many other awards.
With a respectable list of accolades and a dedication to further himself for his patients’ betterment, Dr. Michael Kwan will undoubtedly continue paving the way for advancements in transplantation and a healthier San Antonio and South Texas community. Under the guide of Dr. Michael Kwan, the mission for a healthier South Texas with an improved quality of life will be accomplished.
For more information on the Texas Transplant Institute: Advanced Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplant Clinic visit www.methodistphysicianpractices.com or call 210.575.8485.