A Few Vignettes
From PA to MA to CA
I was born and raised in Philadelphia, where I received my B.A. in chemistry and M.D., both at Temple University.
After my residency in internal medicine at Baystate Medical Center in Massachusetts, I completed a fellowship at the University of California San Francisco.
As the famous Tony Bennett song goes, "I left my heart in San Francisco" and decided that the City By The Bay would be the place where I'd stay.
I have been fortunate in having an amazing career in medicine, but one I would never have predicted. If you would like to see my curriculum vitae, just click on the c.v. dropdown link under the My Legacy Site button at the top of any page.
I've discovered that many people are more interested, though, in learning about my role in the founding the BAPHR, one of the 1st gay doctors groups. Still others are intrigued by my involvement in the early years of the AIDS epidemic. To get a real sense of those important epochs in our nation's history, the best source will be found in the oral history my colleagues and I provided to the Bancroft Library at the University of California Berkeley. My interview is on pp 102-167.
The Retired MD
Although I'm retired, I've continued to be involved in medicine and, in particular, in the world of HIV, which unexpectedly defined my career. I attend HIV Grand Rounds regularly at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, and online web rounds from several sources.
As one of my interests has been studying Portuguese and traveling to Brazil, I've even been invited to give a talk on HIV prevention (em português!) to a group of gay Brazilian guys who meet monthly at the LGBT Community Center in SF.
AncestryDNA & My Family Tree
Besides my continuing interests in medicine, travel, and technology, I've also developed a new hobby in retirement. In 2018, my sister and I discovered to our surprise, through DNA testing, that we had about 25% Eastern European heritage, indicating that our biological maternal grandfather was not the man our mother knew as her father. This revelation opened up contacts with several new biological 1st cousins and other more distant relatives and quickly led us to develop an avid interest in genealogy.
A few months after this discovery, we started a family tree that had maybe a couple hundred names. Now, with new techniques like AncestryDNA's DNA Matches and Thru Lines, we have expanded our tree to over 3,000 relatives, both deceased and living, and have made contact with a number of genetically related (living, of course) 3rd & 4th cousins on both our mother's and father's sides of the family.
We also made some interesting discoveries on our father's side. Our paternal great grandmother, who I met at age 4 and actually remember, told us this family lore that she had lived on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco and had traveled by boat around "the [Cape] Horn" on her family's return trip to Philadelphia. Some of Mary Ann's descendants thought that perhaps she had watched one or more of the many movies about SF. But with family tree research, we were not only able to prove that Mary Ann's family lived here, we discovered that she was born in the City By The Bay -- and we even found the building on Telegraph Hill where Mary Ann and her family resided.
Our tree on Ancestry.com, called the William Owen Family Tree, is a "public" (open) tree. You may view a limited pedigree image of our tree, going back to our 2nd great grandparents, by clicking the My Family Tree & DNA button at the top of any page. If you would like to view our entire family tree, which goes back several centuries along some of our maternal and paternal lines, you should do the AncestryDNA test and/or sign up for an account at Ancestry.com.
I would like to see every gay doctor, every gay lawyer, every gay architect, come out, stand up, and let the world know.