Meet Dr. Tom Kim: A Navy Veteran Turned Reproductive Endocrinologist
He’s back. In California, that is.
In May, Dr. Tom Kim welcomed patients to the first RMA practice on the West Coast, Reproductive Medicine Associates of Southern California in Los Angeles.
And while that’s a big accomplishment, Dr. Kim is familiar with opening up new practices on this coast. He’s already opened the first West Coast military IVF program at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, and was also a founding director at CHA Fertility Center in Los Angeles.
Dr. Kim joined Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey (RMANJ) in 2007, becoming a trustworthy and skilled partner for New Jersey’s infertile couples. But his California roots never quite went away, and he decided to expand the practice into California, opening the Los Angeles clinic earlier this year. Along with Dr. Katherine Green, Dr. Kim helps a variety of patients in Los Angeles start their families.
“We have such a diverse population of people here, and we’re proud to serve all of them, including international patients who lack access to infertility care,” Dr. Kim said recently from his office in West LA. “Our doors are open to everyone.”
Dr. Kim’s medical journey began in the U.S. Navy and has taken him all over the world.
Born in South Korea and raised in Chicago, he earned a scholarship from the Navy that paid for his medical school at Loyola University in Chicago. After graduating, he was stationed on the West Coast and spent 15 years with the Navy. Throughout this time, he had several roles, including serving as the medical officer that took care of submariners and divers at the submarine base in Point Loma, San Diego. He even did a tour of active duty in the Gulf War, which required him to put his residency on hold.
“Deployed with the task force Ripper, which spearheaded the Marine ground operation, I was probably one of the first American doctors to cross the line when the ground war started,” Dr. Kim said.
After a five month tour in Saudi Arabia, he came back to internal medicine residency training – until a personal experience with infertility piqued his interest to pursue reproductive endocrinology as a career.
“My wife and I had fertility issues,” Dr. Kim said. “We were trying to get pregnant and couldn’t. We ended up getting transferred out to a civilian hospital because there was no fertility specialist on the West Coast in the Navy at that time, and, with the help of a civilian fertility doctor at the Scripps Clinic, we had our first child.”
That’s when I realized, “‘Hey, I think this is something I want to do!’”
Changing his career path, he completed another residency, this time in OBGYN, and moved to the East Coast to complete his REI fellowship at the National Institute of Health and Bethesda Naval Hospital (now known as Walter Reed National Military Medical Center) in Bethesda, Maryland. It was there that Dr. Kim met and befriended RMANJ co-founder Dr. Richard Scott, who was serving in the U.S. Air Force at the time.
Upon completion of his fellowship training, Dr. Kim returned to San Diego and founded the first military IVF program on the West Coast in 1998. After his honorable discharge from the Navy, he founded a fertility clinic in Los Angeles where he and his colleagues worked on a successful birth from frozen eggs using a new vitrification freezing technique which sparked national interest and coverage by the Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine and the Boston Globe in 2002.
In 2007, Dr. Kim decided to join Dr. Scott at RMANJ, which had grown into a national leader in infertility care.
“I was drawn to RMANJ’s heavy focus on research and innovation,” he said, “and I wanted to be a part of it.”
While RMA of Southern California is dedicated to the same quality of care and focus on scientific discovery as RMANJ, Dr. Kim and his team are bringing some local flavor to the practice, including using eastern medical remedies and acupunctures, especially for women with recurrent IVF failure and low ovarian reserve.
“We are adopting a personalized medicine model and offering holistic supplements that have proven to be helpful in challenging cases.”
To learn more about infertility treatment options, visit Proven Fertility Treatments.
To make an appointment with RMA of Southern California, call 424-293-8841.
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