Christine Kim, MD, is a neurologist who specializes in treating patients with movement disorders, which can range from Parkinson’s disease to dystonia. An accomplished violinist herself, Dr. Kim has particular interest in musician’s dystonia.
“My interest in that specific type of disorder draws from both my music background and also my neurological training,” Dr. Kim says. “The mindset of a musician and a physician are similar—both are detail-oriented and interested in problem-solving.”
Given that movement disorders are due to problems with the brain’s circuitry, neurological illnesses can have a very personal effect on patients and their family members, Dr. Kim explains. “Going through the diagnosis and treatment with the patient is a bonding experience. I’m able to understand how this specific illness affects them—so I feel a very strong sense of connection with them,” she says.
Dr. Kim says she appreciates the mentors early in her career who encouraged her to pursue patient care as well as her deep interest in neuroscience research. “What I love about being on this path of clinical care and research is the ability to see what is most problematic for my patients, then go back to the drawing board and ask questions and come up with better ways to understand the diseases we are treating,” she says.
Dr. Kim is an instructor at Yale School of Medicine. She researches the development of new treatment approaches by investigating how the body recovers from diseases.