Dr. Philip Cheng has just made history. Earlier last month, when he began seeing patients in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, he became RMA’s first full-time urologist.
Dr. Cheng came to RMA from Salt Lake City’s University of Utah, where he completed his fellowship in male infertility, sexual medicine, and reconstructive urology, training under Dr. Jim Hotaling. While Dr. Hotaling will continue to see RMA patients, Dr. Cheng’s new full-time role as RMA’s dedicated urologist in Basking Ridge will give RMA patients more scheduling flexibility and availability, and access to two top specialists in the field.
“Working at RMA is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I am beyond grateful to be able to continue working with Jim Hotaling, one of my most influential mentors,” Dr. Cheng said recently. “Most of all, I am passionate about helping patients achieve their dreams of parenthood.”
Dr. Cheng will provide the full spectrum of care to male infertility patients in-house, including sperm retrieval for men with no sperm in their ejaculate (through testicular sperm aspiration or microsurgical testicular sperm extraction); vasectomy reversal for men who have undergone vasectomies in the past and would now like to have children; and varicocelectomy, a procedure to treat a condition called varicocele, which can compromise sperm production due to dilated blood vessels around the testicle.
And, like with all RMA doctors, Dr. Cheng will continue his ongoing research into treatments for improving male reproductive and urologic health.
“The academic opportunities at RMA are truly unparalleled,” he said. “I’m excited to collaborate with doctors here and learn more about female fertility while teaching others about male fertility and men’s health.”
Coming Back Home
Born and raised in Princeton Junction, NJ, Dr. Cheng knew he wanted to be a doctor early on, after seeing his father slowly decline from a rare brain tumor, eventually passing away when Dr. Cheng was only nine years old.
“With my dad ill, my mom had to take care of him while also raising my sister and me,” said Dr. Cheng, “I grew up visiting my dad in the hospital, an experience that definitely influenced my sister and me towards pursuing medicine.”
While in high school, he also felt a push to explore life outside of New Jersey. That search led him all the way to Rice University in Houston, Texas, where he pursued an undergraduate degree in psychology, and later, medical school at Baylor College of Medicine.
“I fell in love with campus life at Rice,” admitted Dr. Cheng, “and the Texas Medical Center is the biggest medical complex in the world. I just knew that’s where I wanted to do my training. I was a fish out of water there with the warm climate, but I absolutely loved my experience.”
A Student of the World
During college, Dr. Cheng’s desire to explore new places continued to grow, so he took a semester abroad at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, Spain, where he studied Spanish and art history. After graduating from Rice, he spent a year in Hong Kong teaching English through American literature and film at The Open University of Hong Kong under a Fulbright Scholarship.
“I knew I wanted to go to Asia since my parents are from Taiwan and it had been a long time since I visited my family there,” he said. “It was amazing, the best year of my life. Teaching my students from Hong Kong and mainland China, creating my own curriculum, traveling all over southeast Asia, visiting my relatives in Taiwan – it was a great experience in terms of personal growth and learning about the world.”
Having been accepted to Baylor College of Medicine as part of a joint BA/MD program with Rice University, Dr. Cheng returned to Houston in 2009 to pursue his medical degree and went on to graduate with honors in 2013. It was in medical school where Dr. Cheng discovered urology to be his calling.
“After my surgical clerkship, I knew that I wanted to be a surgeon, so I explored different surgical subspecialties and fell in love with urology,” he said.
And while graduating medical school meant saying goodbye to Houston, it brought him to Boston and Harvard Medical School, where Dr. Cheng completed an internship in general surgery and residency in urology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
After finishing his residency in June of 2018, Dr. Cheng was off to a new city again, this time Salt Lake City, for his fellowship in andrology and reconstructive urology under the mentorship of Dr. Hotaling and Dr. Jeremy Myers.
Work Life Balance
In addition to treating patients at RMA, Dr. Cheng will continue to pursue some of his passions: research, teaching, and travel. To date, he has participated in dozens of research projects, published numerous abstracts and manuscripts, held leadership positions, and been recognized for his work with high honors and awards. Perhaps even more impressive is what he accomplished around all that: Dr. Cheng is an accomplished violinist, athlete, and traveler. He has backpacked through 42 countries and five continents—and he isn’t done yet.
While his journey continues, it is clear Dr. Cheng is looking forward to making RMA his new home base.
“I’ll get to live close to home for the first time since leaving for college. I’ve always been a Jersey boy at heart!”