Newswise — AANEM is honored to announce Yuen T. So, MD, PhD, as the recipient of the 2018 AANEM Distinguished Physician Award due to his contributions as a clinician and educator as well as his overall support of AANEM activities. Dr. So is a Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences at Stanford University. He has been on the AANEM Board of Directors since 2015. Prior to his participation on the AANEM Board, Dr. So was a member, chair, and co-chair of the AANEM Practice Issues Review Panel. He’s been an AANEM member since 1988.
“In reviewing Dr. So’s credentials and service across so many activities, his choice became obvious to the AANEM Awards Committee. In his collegial, friendly, and effective manner, he has led us in developing our science and in establishing clinical practice standards,” said Timothy R. Dillingham, MD, MS, and Chair of the AANEM Awards Committee. “Dr. So has selflessly contributed to the AANEM for the betterment of care everywhere. He is richly deserving of this award.”
Dr. So became interested in neuromuscular and electrodiagnostic medicine as an undergraduate student in electrical engineering. He had started working in a visual neurophysiological laboratory and said he was “fascinated by the electrophysiological underpinning of the nervous system.”
“That’s what led me to neurology. During my neurology residency, I learned about the power of electrodiagnostic tools in making a clinical diagnosis, and I realized very quickly that was something I wanted to do,” Dr. So recalled.
“Compared to the central nervous system, the peripheral nervous system is more approachable and can be investigated with far greater precision. The history, physical examination, and the electrodiagnosis can be deployed to diagnose peripheral nervous system diseases very accurately. To me, it is absolutely satisfying,” he continued. “As I ventured further, I came to appreciate another merit of neuromuscular medicine: the field is remarkably diverse with a wide range of diseases. It never gets boring. I am constantly learning.”
Dr. So says that aside from patient care, teaching has been the most gratifying aspect of his career.
“Teaching and patient care go hand in hand. They make a routine clinic more fun and together they make me a better clinician,” he said.
Working with residents was of special importance to him. “Residents are smart, diligent, and eager to learn. They always asked tough questions and kept me on my toes. They probably taught me just as much as I taught them,” he said.
Dr. So says finding out he won the 2018 AANEM Distinguished Physician Award came as a “complete surprise.”
“Receiving this award is, without question, the most memorable career moment for me. I am deeply grateful to the AANEM Awards Committee and all of the years of support from the AANEM,” he said.
Dr. So has received many acknowledgements throughout his career. He has been included in multiple listings of top physicians, such as Best Doctors in America from Best Doctors, Inc., Top Physicians from Consumers’ Research Council of America, and San Francisco Magazine’s list of Top Bay Area Physicians. In 2015, he received the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Humanism in Medicine Award for his work at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
Dr. So has co-authored 78 peer-reviewed journal articles in publications such as Muscle & Nerve, Neurology, Annals of Neurology, as well as many others. Dr. So has also contributed to dozens of books and non-peer-reviewed publications on topics related to neuropathies, nutritional deficiencies, HIV infection, and the effects of toxins on the nervous system, among others.
Dr. So received his Bachelor of Science degree from Northwestern University. He later earned his doctor of philosophy from Rockefeller University and his medical degree from Yale University. Dr. So completed his residency in neurology and a fellowship in electromyography and neuromuscular diseases at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
Dr. So has been at Stanford University since 1999, where he is currently the Vice Chair of Clinical Services and Chief of the Neurology Clinics. During his first year at Stanford, he won the Lysia Forno Award for Teaching Excellence from the residents of the Department of Neurology and Neurosciences.
Prior to his work at Stanford, Dr. So worked at Oregon Health Science University (OHSU) as an Associate Professor of Neurology, Director of the Medical Student Clerkship, Director of the EMG Laboratory, and Co-Director of the Neuromuscular Program. In 1998, the residents of OHSU’s Department of Neurology voted him Most Outstanding Teacher.
Early in his career, Dr. So worked as the Director of the Clinical Neurophysiology Laboratory at San Francisco General Hospital and as Assistant Professor in Residence in Neurology at UCSF. In 1993, the residents of the Department of Neurology granted him the Golden Upgoing Toe Award for Most Outstanding Teacher.
Based in Rochester, Minnesota, the American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM) is the premier nonprofit membership association dedicated to the advancement of neuromuscular (NM), musculoskeletal and electrodiagnostic (EDX) medicine. The organization and its members work to improve the quality of patient care and advance the science of NM diseases and EDX medicine by serving physicians and allied health professionals who care for those with muscle and nerve disorders.