Edna Cheung is currently a pharmacy resident at the University of Michigan. She received her pharmacy degree from UCSF Pharmacy school, and played a key role in transitioning the San Francisco Hepatitis B Collaborative at Cal into the Volunteer Health Interpreters organization, and established an amazing foundation (including an unparalleled officer handbook) on which future officers developed our current structure.
WEBMASTER 2010-2011, CO-DIRECTOR 2011 – 2013
My name is Edna, and I can't believe I'm writing my own VHIO alumni spotlight now--it feel like just yesterday I was in your shoes contacting alumni and helping to put together VHIO's first newsletter circa 2011!
To share a little bit about myself, I had the amazing opportunity of helping VHIO expand in its early days during its transition from the San Francisco Hepatitis B Collaborative focused on hepatitis B, into the Volunteer Health Interpreters Organization serving as a resource to patients of Limited English Proficiency in all aspects of health care. (Fun fact: initially we had considered the name "BHIO" but learned that an organization name cannot begin with Berkeley, and that it would get confused with bio.) I served as co-director from 2011 to 2013 and worked with Yingchao Zhong, who is coincidentally now my roommate in Ann Arbor, MI.
After Berkeley, I attended pharmacy school at UCSF and found my background in VHIO to be incredibly helpful in finding meaningful ways to reach out to patients. I was database coordinator for the same hepatitis B clinic and was actually a part of the initiative to close the clinic, since it was evident that we had already maximized the utility of the clinic. Although it was sad to see the clinic close, it was a good experience to see to assess needs in a community and provide services community. At UCSF, I also piloted a "Breaking Language Barriers" workshop, in which I rallied native speakers at the School of Pharmacy to instruct and compile a handbook on basic health care communication across several languages. During clinical rotations, VHIO came in useful when I conducted anticoagulation clinic visits with Chinese-speaking patients. Even for patients who speak other languages, having been an interpreter myself through VHIO was a beneficial perspective, as I was on the other end as a health care provider serving a non-English-speaking patient through an interpreter.
I am currently a first-year pharmacy practice resident at the University of Michigan, and I am planning to pursue a second-year residency to specialize in hematology/oncology. I was an MCB immuno major at Cal, so I'm all about the molecular targets and signaling pathways! I want to say that my advice to VHIO members would be to find what you are passionate about, but everyone says that... so I think I'll speak to work-life balance and the importance of time management that incorporates pursuing hobbies. My personal guilty pleasure is exploring food places and writing crazy detailed Yelp reviews. In my opinion, side projects definitely help to make your more productive (and keeps you sane). Anyways, best of luck to VHIO for 2017-2018! I am so impressed to see how VHIO is growing, and I am very excited to see where you all take it this year.