Source: By Emma Kennedy, The News-Enterprise
Chandler Park is coming home. It took him more than a decade of study, moving from hospital to hospital and weighing options for his future, but Park will start as a oncologist with Hardin Memorial Health in early September.
Park and his family moved to Fort Knox in the early 1980s when his father was stationed on post.
That move turned into an entire childhood in the Hardin County area, and Park went on to attend Parkway Elementary School, Radcliff Middle School and North Hardin High School, where he graduated in 1993.
Park will be honored as one of 10 recipients of Hardin County Schools Distinguished Alumni awards at a luncheon today for his work after graduating and for the skill he’s bringing back to the community.
After graduating, Park started an U.S. Air Force scholarship before studying for a degree in biomedical engineering at the University of Illinois.
It was upon graduation and placement at a hospital, though, that he realized he wasn’t finished learning.
“At that time I kind of developed an interest in helping people first hand and that’s when I decided to go to medical school,” Park said. “Medicine was like a second career, but I love to learn. I’m kind of a curious person and, for me, I like things that stimulate me, and I’ve loved it.”
Park earned a medical degree at the University of Louisville and while there also earned a master’s degree in biophysics, which allowed him to gain insight into research medicine.
He still would be a few years away from Kentucky following his Louisville placement, though, as he interned in Akron, Ohio, and did a stint in Indianapolis, where he had insight into the cancer side of health care.
“At that time I really enjoyed taking care of cancer patients and I really love learning about the science of cancer, even more than I did in medical school,” Park said. “That’s when I decided to commit myself to being a cancer doctor and blood doctor.”
Park studied more at the University of Pittsburgh and the West Virginia University Cancer Institute.
“When I used to work in the ICU as a hospital doctor, that was tough,” he said. “You have to develop relationships with people you don’t know. That’s the difference working as a cancer doctor because you see people when they really need you. You develop a relationship with them for the rest of their life and you don’t really get that in critical care.”
Park said he was fortunate to have had such a stable education in Hardin County Schools. He said with family still in the area, the ultimate choice was to return home.
“One of the things I’ve been very lucky about is I’ve had a really good childhood growing up here in Hardin County,” Park said.
“I really enjoy living here and throughout my journey, I’ve had the chance to learn from a lot of great people.”
Clinically, Park said his interests are in breast, lung and colon cancers and lymphomas, but he has experience with a range of other conditions.
“I’m here to take care of patients, to make sure they’re doing OK, and to try to help as much as I can,” he said.
Park said bringing his knowledge and expertise back to Hardin County is an opportunity to develop relationships and help people in his hometown community.
The Hardin County Schools Distinguished Alumni luncheon is today at 11:30 a.m. today at the district’s Early College and Career Center on University Drive in Elizabethtown.
Emma Kennedy can be reached at 270-505-1746 or firstname.lastname@example.org.