Faculty Spotlight: Azalea Kim, MD

Thursday, December 13, 2018

We were delighted to receive this interview with Dr. Azalea Kim, a new DGIM faculty member in 2018. We hope you will enjoy getting to know her more personally as she relates her story to us.

Where do you work?
After 4+ long years of residency, I could not get enough and am now an attending at the Duke Outpatient Clinic!  I also work at Duke Forge and Crucible, our new center for health data science and health data science accelerator, and for Duke Health Technology Solutions (DHTS). My work for these organizations is centered around strategy for data science and analytics for value-based care at Duke. 

What are your titles?
Assistant Professor, General Internal Medicine
Co-Director for Innovation, Duke Outpatient Clinic
Medical Director for Applied Health Data Science and Strategy, Duke Forge
MaestroCare Physician Champion for Health Data Science and Population Health IT, DHTS

How did you get into health data science?
If you asked me when I started residency if I thought my career would start in the area of “health data science,” I would have probably given you one very puzzled look.  I had gotten an MBA and MPA and had experience in “population health” prior to coming to Duke for internal medicine residency.  I completed the Management and Leadership Pathway for Residents (MLPR), where residents with my background have the opportunity to get hands-on experience working with leadership across Duke Health.  I realized that one major area I knew nothing about was informatics and health data science – quite frankly, it scared me.  I wanted to fill in that knowledge gap and so I requested for Dr. Jeffrey Ferranti, our Chief Information Officer, to be my MLPR mentor. He (somehow) agreed, and I’ve been fortunate to see where my role as a provider versed in business could use health data science to have an impact on population health. 

What brought you to Duke? 
The amazing Dr. Andy Mumm (Palliative Care, General Internal Medicine). Andy matched a year ahead of me in internal medicine. I like to tell the story of our “second look” with Dr. Aimee Zaas. Andy really liked Duke and wanted to do a second look. I was up in Boston in business school while Andy was in NYC at Mount Sinai (where we met), and so we planned to meet up in Durham. What we didn’t do was coordinate what we were wearing to meet Dr Zaas — turns out he and I both had (separately) gotten matching navy suits from the same store at the outlets. I am pretty positive we showed up to Aimee’s office in matching suits looking like this picture from the movie Twins.

Tell us about your research and plans.

I’ve been lucky to collaborate with DGIM favorites Jared Lowe (HPM Fellow), Larry Greenblatt, and Lynn Bowlby on projects as a resident, most notably our work in advance care planning (funded by DIHI). Most recently, I have had the good fortune to work with the amazing team at Duke Forge on a project that leverages natural language processing and machine learning to identify clinical notes that contain data relevant to goals of care. The ultimate goal is for the algorithm we develop to be an app that can identify these notes and pull them out for providers to view in the EMR. Key collaborators on that project include many familiar DGIM faces including David Casarett, Brian Griffith, Jared Lowe, and Andy Mumm. I am currently working with Dr Ebony Boulware and the Duke Outpatient Clinic team to develop a “learning health unit” base that can provide the data infrastructure and platform to deeply understand patient populations, including social and environmental determinants of health, and how our interventions (especially those that are “non-medical) might improve outcomes. 

What is your favorite restaurant?
Seoul Garden in Raleigh is where we go for when I am homesick and really want legit Korean food. KoKyu Na’Mean in Durham has truly excellent bahn mi, and True Flavors is our favorite for brunch. 

What is a fun fact about yourself?
I’m married to the amazing Andy Mumm (DGIM, Palliative Care) – photo evidence to the right to show amazing he is.

We are the proud and exhausted parents of two hilarious kids – Avery is almost 2.5 years old. Amelie is 8 months old. We are incredibly lucky and grateful for the kindness and support from our friends, colleagues, and mentors --- it’s the only way to have had these kids during residency training!