Peck Ong, MD, pursued a fellowship at National Jewish Health because it is “an institution where science and clinical medicine meet and every faculty member is at the top of their field.”
More than a decade after completing his fellowship, Dr. Ong applies what he learned in his practice and research at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). He also continues to collaborate with National Jewish Health in a variety of ways.
Dr. Ong came to National Jewish Health during his residency for a one-month internship with Donald Y.M. Leung, MD, PhD. After that, he decided to do his fellowship at National Jewish Health and continue his research with Dr. Leung.
“National Jewish Health was the perfect setting for learning,” he says. “I learned to be a well-rounded allergist/immunologist, and I met a lot of people who became lifelong friends.”
After completing his fellowship in 2002, Dr. Ong was in private practice for two years in Los Angeles while he looked for an academic job. “I wanted to be back in research and a teaching environment, like where I trained,” he says.
Today, he is an associate professor of clinical pediatrics at CHLA and is also on faculty at the University of Southern California. Dr. Ong specializes in atopic dermatitis (AD), food allergy and asthma.
A Lasting Relationship with National Jewish Health
He continues to work with Dr. Leung and others at National Jewish Health through his involvement with the Atopic Dermatitis Research Network (ADRN), a consortium of academic medical centers that conduct clinical research studies to learn more about skin infections associated with AD. The studies focus on antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections and widespread viral skin infections that are more common in AD patients.
Dr. Ong learned the importance of Staph infections in AD while working in Dr. Leung’s lab. He and his colleagues at CHLA confirmed the role of Staph superantigens in young children with AD.
He has written multiple research and review articles. Most notable is his New England Journal of Medicine paper, which was coauthored by National Jewish Health faculty Mark Boguniewicz, MD, and Dr. Leung. The study showed low defensin levels in atopic dermatitis patients. It remains one of the most cited papers in AD.
In addition, he sees Los Angeles-based patients who came to National Jewish Health for consultations. “Patients follow up with me because my approach to eczema and asthma is similar,” he says. Dr. Ong also consults with Dr. Boguniewicz on challenging cases.
He hopes to continue to encourage residents and medical students to pursue careers in allergy and immunology. Two former CHLA residents, Jordan Abbott, MD, and Christine Cho, MD, are now on faculty at National Jewish Health.
His advice for current and future fellows at National Jewish Health? “Learn as much as you can. National Jewish Health is the best allergy and immunology program in the country.”