Dr. Ben Stong of Kalos Facial Plastic Surgery: “Smart people learn from their mistakes”

“Smart people learn from their mistakes, wise people learn from the mistakes of others.” This has helped me throughout my life. Being able to learn from what your predecessors have done helps keep you out of trouble and improves your skills going forward. As a part of our interview series called “5 Things We Must Do […]

Thrive invites voices from many spheres to share their perspectives on our Community platform. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by Community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Thrive or its employees. More information on our Community guidelines is available here.

“Smart people learn from their mistakes, wise people learn from the mistakes of others.” This has helped me throughout my life. Being able to learn from what your predecessors have done helps keep you out of trouble and improves your skills going forward.


As a part of our interview series called “5 Things We Must Do To Improve the US Healthcare System”, I had the pleasure to interview Dr. Ben Stong.

Dr. Benjamin Stong is a world-class facial plastic surgeon with highly esteemed training, experience and recognition in his field. Founder and owner of Kalos Facial Plastic Surgery in Atlanta, GA (www.kalos-plasticsurgery.com), Dr. Stong is dual board certified in Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery and Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Dr. Stong, who completed his fellowship under renowned plastic surgeon Andrew Jacono in New York City, is equipped with the highest level of specialization in both cosmetic and reconstructive procedures. His great understanding of the careful blend of art and science allows him to deliver exceptional, natural-looking results for his patients.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into our interview, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I am the founder and owner of Kalos Facial Plastic Surgery and The K Spa in Atlanta, GA. I completed my undergraduate education at Emory and went on to finish medical school at the University Of Alabama School of Medicine. I then obtaining a fellowship in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in Manhattan where I trained in the most advanced and modern techniques in facial plastic surgery under by Dr. Andrew Jacono, among the most recognized facial plastic surgeons in the country. I am dual board certified in Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery and Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery by the American Board of Otolaryngology and the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ABFPRS).

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Aside from building my practice, the most interesting and satisfying experiences I’ve had as a surgeon are my pro bono mission trips to South America for cleft lip and palate reconstructive surgeries. The reward that comes from seeing the patient and family reactions is priceless. I plan on more trips once the pandemic is over.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Smart people learn from their mistakes, wise people learn from the mistakes of others.” This has helped me throughout my life. Being able to learn from what your predecessors have done helps keep you out of trouble and improves your skills going forward.

How would you define an “excellent healthcare provider”?

Anyone who would truly fit that definition would have to have passion for the job. If they don’t really want to be doing what they’re doing, then they’re not going to be any good and could actually put other people’s health at risk. Good communication skills are also crucial, since consulting with your patients and their families is so central to your responsibilities. I would also say that if you can’t multitask, you’re going to have serious problems, as are your patients and staff!

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better healthcare leader? Can you explain why you like them?

My general observations of the world have opened my eyes to American healthcare. I generally stay away from paid information sources to find real information, but in this day and age it’s hard to find real information.

According to this study cited by Newsweek, the US healthcare system is ranked as the worst among high income nations. This seems shocking. Can you share with us 3–5 reasons why you think the US is ranked so poorly?

I think the disparity in wealth and the fact that we have a defacto two tier healthcare system is responsible for the discrepancy in our poor outcome measures when compared to other wealthy nations. If you have good insurance and are connected the US healthcare system is second to none.

As a “healthcare insider”, If you had the power to make a change, can you share 5 changes that need to be made to improve the overall US healthcare system? Please share a story or example for each.

There are a number of things I would like to see done. These would all help patients:

  • No publicly traded health insurance companies
  • No publicly traded pharma companies
  • All health insurance and big pharma companies should have to be nonprofit 501C3’s
  • Physicians should have more say and direction over your care
  • More incentive for preventative healthcare including diet, exercise, and mind health.

What concrete steps would have to be done to actually manifest these changes? What can a) individuals, b) corporations, c) communities and d) leaders do to help?

We are currently helpless in the current healthcare markets as consumers. The HIC (healthcare industrial complex) won’t allow change. The health insurance companies, big pharma, device manufacturers, and politicians are in collusion to keep the status quo. Until people are capable of understanding and want to effect change, nothing will change. Our freedoms have been stolen from us.

Can you share with us examples of where we’ve seen the U.S. healthcare system struggle? How do you think we can correct these issues moving forward?

I believe that rural healthcare in the US is nonexistent and That’s a serious problem. Living in rural America is similar to living in a third world country. The delivery and administration of healthcare in rural America is very similar.

How do you think we can address the problem of physician shortages?

Physician shortages can only be addressed with incentives. Physicians need a reason to go through the training. It’s a brutal process and anyone saying differently is selling something.

How do you think we can address the issue of physician diversity?

I’m interested in the interplay between the general healthcare system and the mental health system. Right now, we have two parallel tracks, mental/behavioral health and general health. What are your thoughts about this status quo? What would you suggest to improve this?

I’m not sure we even really have two parallel tracks. Mental health is largely neglected in the US and is largely not discussed or even talked about. It’s completely up to the individual to seek out mental health assistance and improvement and is largely looked at as a sign of weakness if someone needs to reach out.

If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

We need a movement that would demand that we are no longer lied to by our government and corporate America. As examples I would point out that the sugar industry is so corrupt. The meat industry is equally corrupt. Sugar is more addictive than cocaine. Meat, in the quantities US citizens consume, is poison. Our government covers this up with bribes to our politicians from corporate America. The first step in recovery would be being able to see the truth. The greatest trick politicians ever pulled was convincing American citizens they have freedom and choice. Unless we can get beyond that status quo then I am not very hopeful we can get at core issues.

Thank you so much for these insights! This was very inspirational and we wish you continued success in your great work.

    You might also like...

    Community//

    Dr. John Layke of Beverly Hills MD: “Delivering on that promise ”

    by Orlando Zayas
    Community//

    Dr. James Beckman: “Encouraging people.”

    by Ben Ari
    Community//

    Dr. James Beckman: “Encourage everyone.”

    by Ben Ari
    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.