I’m David Tang. I'm a doctor, currently in the field data science & machine learning. I write about the use of technology to improve everyday personal health.
What to know about me
- I studied medicine for 5 years at Monash University, graduating in 2011.
- I worked for 7 years in various hospitals in Malaysia. I have a broad experience in dealing with conditions from liver to lungs.
- I am a member of the Royal College of Physicians UK since 2016.
- I have a Masters in health analytics and machine learning from Imperial College London, 2021.
- I now live in London with my wife, daughter and son.
- I am usually an early adopter of tech (ie. Stadia), open to new ideas and constantly tweaking things.
My Full Story
🐣 Origin Story
My story begins in sunny, tropical Borneo Island. I was born in 1989 to a pair of doctors who met in a local hospital. Growing up, I remember spending my younger years in the unused storage areas of my mum's general practice clinic while she worked.
Often, I was peeking or prodding different medication stocks and medical equipment. I was a little naughty and curious and would sometimes put my ear to the door to hear what the adults were up to. Most of their discussions were of course a bit hard to understand for a child, so I'd often break the monotony by running around up and down the sterile clinic corridors.
My maternal grandpa was also a doctor - though he was a traditional chinese medicine practitioner. According to 'legend', he used to serve in the military but had to flee China during one of the civil wars that broke out. Sadly, I did not have much time with him as he passed away shortly after I was born. Mum always speaks highly of him and I think we will always carry this unique heritage as a line of health workers.
Despite constant deterrents from my parents, I chose to do medicine as my first degree. Perhaps there was always that longing to finally understand what my parents were actually doing and be part of the medical fraternity.
I had the opportunity to see and learn how modern Western medicine is practised when I studied in Australia. Upon graduation, I returned to my home country and served in various hospitals around the country.
I progressed my career outside of the local pathway by carving my own way through the United Kingdom system. In 2016, after 5 years of experience, I joined as a member of the Royal College of Physicians UK.
Slowly over the years, disillusionment and burnout crept in. I became progressively tired and unhappy with what I was doing. I was spending more time on administrative work than I liked to. My job autonomy was at stake. Career advancement seemed slow and tiresome. So, I decided to take a break from the medical world. At that time I even strongly considered not to return to the field.
🌎 Call to a new world
I took some time to explore and learn about different types of work. I took up coding and a Master's in Data Analytics/Machine Learning. I tried my hand at the finance industry. I really went for it and did voluntary work in events management. I even started tutoring students of various levels, ranging from A levels to nurses doing advanced degrees. Well really, anything that is biology-based. Somehow there was something that kept pulling me back to the field.
My first real job after my master's was working in a public health department at Imperial College London. It is a really pleasant team and I was happy that my work would have real world impact. I had the opportunity to contribute to a better understanding of COVID, during and while the world was coming out of the pandemic.
After the pandemic was over, I was relegated to another project. But 2023 proved to be one of the toughest years in my life - one where life kept throwing sucker punches. The year started off with my dad requiring major and repeated spinal surgery. I had to take unpaid time off, leading to being overlooked for career advancement. We were also expecting the arrival of my son later in the year. To make things worse, we got booted from our flat by our landlord and were scrambling for a new place (amid a housing/UK mortgage crisis). All this while making sure our backs are covered with visa renewal requirements.
During these trying times, I needed a creative outlet. Otherwise, one might just go mad with everything that is happening. So that's the origin of this blog!
All these setbacks forced me to reflect and distill what I truly enjoyed doing. Then it hit me. I saw a common thread throughout my work in hospitals, universities, and even at home. I was most happy when empowering people to reach a better potential.
🚀Beginning of this blog
Back when I was a medic, it was about helping people back on their feet (sometimes in a literal sense!). Getting a person with a deflated lung to breathe freely again, or giving a second chance at life to someone with complete kidney failure. With my tutoring and teaching, there was a similar theme of elevating people. It was seeing how students learn new concepts and go beyond in applying them to real-life problems.
It has been more than 12 years since I first stepped into a hospital and spoke to my first patient. Now, I feel that my grandpa's spirit is again calling. I desire to reach more people and see them improve themselves.
I started this blog to combine both my first and second love - to write about health technology and share this with hopes that it improves the overall understanding of health. There is also a lot of misinformation out there in the health field, and I hope to be able to provide some clarity. This would do Grandpa justice. He had risked everything to brave the oceans and land a new life for my mum and eventually me. I would never have been a possibility if he hadn't taken this risk.
✅ What I write about
- Consumer health-tech
- Gadgets related to health
- Healthy habits (ie. sleep hygiene, diet)
- Caffeine and coffee (my favorite drug)
❌ What I don't talk about
- Traditional/alternative medicine
- Pseudoscience or miracle quick-fixes
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Enough about myself ... Explore more about the latest ways you can improve your health with some cool tech!
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