As diverse as the needs in our community, so should the young generation be encouraged to explore their interests more freely.
Who are you?
I am passionate about developing a public health measure that would affect millions of people’s lives. For the last 3 1/2 years I have been working on developing a vaccine for malaria. Malaria causes 200 to 300 million people to fall sick each year; among them, 1 – 2 million people die, and 75% of them are children younger than 5 years of age. I have specialty training in pediatrics, pediatric infectious diseases, preventive medicine, and public health –over-trained for sure but glad to see how it finally comes together. I am absolutely grateful for the recent milestone we have achieved on the highest level of protection by a gene-based vaccine approach.
What do you do?
My career path combining public health, research and service in the military is a road much less traveled among Taiwanese Americans and Asian Americans alike, but it has been a very exciting and fulfilling journey. I also feel strongly about being involved with the community to improve health at the local level including health fairs and international medical missions through church, work and the North American Taiwanese Medical Association (NATMA). International medical missions are great opportunities to train health care providers to practice medicine under austere conditions. Just think about disasters like Hurricane Katrina that we never imagined could happen in our country. These missions serve people with the greatest needs and also build goodwill for both Taiwan and the US.
Why are you proud to be of Taiwanese heritage?
I am first generation Taiwanese American. I’m absolutely proud of my Taiwanese heritage and the traditional values passed on to me from my parents and grandparents: We value hard-work, taking good care of our families, taking care of people around you and beyond, being a good manager of our finances, loyalty, and doing your best in everything you put your heart into –all of these are so positive and practical (and make us less susceptible to the trauma of recessions). Taiwanese culture also embodies open-mindedness to new design and new ideas –I’m proud to be a Taiwanese American!
What does the future of Taiwanese America look like to you?
Taiwanese Americans have so much potential –we are one of the most driven and highly accomplished communities. I would love to see a lot more people become involved in our community to advance health and diplomacy together. There is a serious lack of health data about our community; Clinical trials and public health do not have applicable data for Asians because we don’t participate in the trials or surveys. Make sure you fill out the census. Without data, there is no funding, no support to focus on improving the specific health issues in our communities. Being involved in international medical missions will help you personally and professionally, and it helps Taiwan and the US. We also should be more involved at the health policy level. I would love to see more young people with well-rounded backgrounds in public health and health policy –both will serve the Taiwanese American communities in immeasurable ways.
Any additional information you would like to share?
I just want to encourage Taiwanese American parents and the new generation to be more open-minded in their career choices. As diverse as the needs in our community, so should the young generation be encouraged to explore their interests more freely. Highly accomplished writers, musicians, politicians, diplomats (which we desperately need), athletes –all will bring honor to our community, raise visibility, and increase our influence in society. We need to be more vocal in our opinions and remember to educate anyone we know about Taiwan –we are instant diplomats for Taiwan!