What have been your deepest influences?
We came to San Francisco when I was 11, and my grandparents lived on Grant Avenue. My first impression was that Chinatown looked so dilapidated.That was my impetus for studying architecture at UC Berkeley,but I dropped out at the student movement in the ’60s, which influenced me greatly. In medicine, I was always interested in social determinants of health and all those factors that influence a person’s well-being.

What inspired you to go to medical school?
I worked at a community center in Chinatown and helped people as an advocate and interpreter. I got involved taking patients to the hospital and became interested in medicine. I was 31, with two young daughters, not even a science major, but UCSF took a chance on me.

Do you have a pet project?
About 10 years ago, I was looking for retirement projects and was shocked that UC Berkeley didn’t have a single class on Asian American health. We started the Asian American Pacific Islander Health Research Group, and now many of my former students are working in medicine, nursing, social work, and other fields. They form lifelong friendships, and I get to see them blossom.

Now, as a member of the UCSF Medical Alumni Association board, I’m hosting walks for first-year students through Chinatown, whose residents will be some of their future patients. I hope other alumni will lead similar tours through neighborhoods like the Tenderloin, the Mission District, or Hunters Point.

What are you most proud of?
My husband and I both took nontraditional paths through life, and his support has been critical to everything I’ve done. I also appreciate the meaningful lives my two grown daughters and their spouses are leading, and I’m the proud grandmother of their four children.

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