Lawrence Cheung is currently a second-year medical student at the UC Davis School of Medicine. In addition to his amazing work as an educator, mentor, and leader, he was also VHIO's go-to photographer for four years and enlisted as a cook for as many officer retreats and socials as possible
Education Coordinator 2014-2015, Director of External Affairs 2015-2016
Hello my Dearest VHIO family!
My name is Lawrence Cheung and I am a second-year medical student at UC Davis. I graduated from Berkeley in 2016 with majors in Bioengineering, Electrical Engineering, and Computer Sciences (EDITOR'S NOTE: Yes, Lawrence was a triple major)
Joining VHIO is one of the best decisions that I made during my undergraduate career. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be part of the VHIO family and meet a group of friends and mentors who share the same interest as me. It greatly influenced me to switch my career path from technological industry route to medicine. As an immigrant, my family and I experienced a great impact on language and cultural barriers. Therefore, it has always been my desire to improve the health of immigrant and refugee communities. It is important to facilitate patient-provider communication to make patient to feel more comfortable to express their concerns in clinical settings. In the three years that I was in VHIO, I witnessed patients who were hesitant to ask questions to physicians and relied on bilingual but medically inexperienced relatives which compromised the quality of care. I also saw some patients suffered from conditions that could have been treated if they had access to care and understanding physicians who they could trust and communicate. These experiences motivate me to pursue a career in medicine to become a physician who speaks the same language as the patient speaks and creates environments that patients could feel connected.
Even in medical school now, the experience in VHIO well prepared me for the work that I am doing at the Paul Hom Asian Clinic, the oldest student-run clinic in the country that focuses on providing free health care to Limited English Proficient underserved Asian population. I can use the knowledge that I learned in VHIO to communicate with patients and address their concerns. I also used the education model that I learned from VHIO to start the Medical Chinese Student Interest Group at UC Davis School of Medicine, which provides a platform for other medical students to learn about both Cantonese and Mandarin and develop cultural sensitivity for diverse communities.
I am glad that you all joined VHIO and become an integral part of this big family. You will be surprised by the support and friendship that you will have gained by the time you graduate from Berkeley and beyond. So, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or other alumni if you are interested in medicine, healthcare, or community advocacy. I hope we could be your network to support you to get to the goals that you want to achieve!
Enjoy your wonderful year with your VHIO family!