In 2002, after two decades in academic medicine, Rebekah Wang-Cheng, M.D., decided to leave the Medical College of Wisconsin and open a solo practice in California. Much to her delight, she found that while she no longer holds the title of professor, she will always be a teacher. "Teaching is my passion," she says. "For nineteen years I taught medical students, residents, and junior faculty. Now my focus is more on teaching and empowering patients and nurses."
Born in Galesburg, Illinois, in 1953, Dr. Wang-Cheng wanted to become a physician after spending time at the nursing home owned by her parents. Following undergraduate work at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, Rebekah Wang-Cheng graduated from the Loma Linda University School of Medicine in 1978. She remained at the Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center for her psychiatric internship and internal medicine residency, and later served her first teaching posts at Loma Linda University School of Medicine as instructor in medicine and assistant professor from 1983 to 1985.
Dr. Wang-Cheng served on the faculty of the Medical College of Wisconsin from 1985 to 2002, and completed a year's fellowship in medical education at the Medical College of Wisconsin in 1993. With training in both psychiatry and internal medicine, Dr. Wang-Cheng focused her research on psychosomatic medicine and hormone replacement therapies.
During her tenure at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Dr. Wang-Cheng received numerous teaching awards, including an "outstanding teacher" recognition by junior students every year from 1990 through 1998. In 1998 she received the Golden Apple Award for excellence in teaching internal medicine. She also received the school's highest teaching honor, membership in the Society of Teaching Scholars. In 2000 Dr. Wang-Cheng was chosen president of the Faculty Council and served as the spokesperson for over 900 faculty members.
From 1995 until she left Wisconsin in 2002, Dr. Wang-Cheng wrote a bi-weekly question-and-answer column for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Still syndicated over the Internet, "Dear Dr. Becky" was one of the paper's most widely read columns. Dr. Wang-Cheng has also been an associate editor of the British Medical Journal-USA, and has published numerous articles and book chapters on topics including eating disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, and the doctor-patient relationship. Dr. Wang-Cheng has also served as an on-screen physician for videos on medical topics and as co-host of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency World, a cable program reporting on humanitarian work. Listed in the 2000 Guide to Top Doctors in America, Dr. Wang-Cheng is a member of the American College of Physicians, Alpha Omega Alpha, and the Christian Medical and Dental Society. The mother of three sons, Christopher, Andrew and Ryan, Dr. Wang-Cheng says she enjoys playing the piano and eating healthfullyexcept for dark chocolate.
In private practice in Deer Park, California, Dr. Wang-Cheng explains her new path, "I've discovered that 'all the world is a classroom', and patients of all ages, given the time and opportunity are some of the most eager learners." In an effort to fulfill her life's goal of helping people to become their best mentally, physically and spiritually, Dr. Wang-Cheng is now practicing at St. Helena Hospital, the longest continuously operating Seventh-Day Adventist hospital on the West Coast.