Clockwise from top left: Malia Miller, Mercedes Garay, Erin McArthur, and Bianca Hechanova.
Malia Miller, San Francisco
If you could achieve one medical breakthrough, what would it be?
I would cure cancer. I lost my mother to cancer, and a grandmother as well. Cancer affects so many, in so many ways. A major part of caring for people is caring for their mental well-being. It’s not enough that people may go through treatment and, thankfully, sometimes are able to survive. They – and their loved ones – are left with mental and physical scars that affect them for the rest of their lives. To put an end to such suffering would be a true medical miracle.
Mercedes Garay, San Francisco
What’s one moment from medical training that’s stayed with you?
Nights on the Neuroscience unit at UCSF have no shortage of stories. One late night a confused young man was admitted. Unfortunately the patient became combative, shoving the nurse into the wall during admission. I heard the sounds of civil commotion from down the hall. Running into the room, I see the patient standing on the window sill banging on the plexiglass, aspiring to break out! Reorienting the patient to his name and verbalizing to him that leaving the hospital was not through the windows, I was able to gently talk this patient down from his position and into bed without any more hands-on intervention from staff, including security. The certified crisis intervention and prevention training I received at UCSF was designed for moments like these and served to reinforce my confidence in leading difficult and stressful situations.
Erin McArthur, Silicon Valley
Any book, TV, or podcast recommendations you want to share?
As many of you know, I am half Asian and Caucasian. My mother is part Vietnamese, Chinese, and French, and was born and raised in Việt Nam. She escaped the Việt Nam War in March 1975, a month before the “fall of Sài Gòn”, and became a refugee in America. My grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins slowly escaped Việt Nam in the following years, some being stuck on a boat for months, others crossing through jungles and mountains by foot to get to the Chinese border, and others being sent to re-education camps. Growing up, stories of Việt Nam, the War, refugee camps, “Boat People”, death, grief, and hardships were the norm, but I never really understood these stories or recognized the importance of them until recently.
Wanting to learn more about the Việt Nam War and how it changed so many lives, I decided I would read as many books and memoirs by Vietnamese authors as possible. The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai is one historical fiction that stood out for me. The story about a multi-generation Vietnamese family and the adversity they experienced in Việt Nam – the Japanese occupation, the Great Hunger, the brutal Land Reform, the Việt Nam War and its aftermath – helped me understand the impact of war, imperialism, and the rise of Communism from a Vietnamese viewpoint.
I feel that The Mountains Sing is an essential read for Vietnamese and Vietnamese-Americans who are searching to better understand their grandparents and parents who lived through the war. I definitely came away with a deeper appreciation of the meaning of family and a greater perception of the war of which I was born out of.
Bianca Hechanova, Los Angeles
Why did you choose to go into healthcare?
Growing up, I was frequently asked about my career goals. Many people suggested that I become a nurse, as this is a typical profession in my culture (I’m Filipino). However, after working in a hospital for four years, I realized that it wasn’t the right fit for me. Although the hospital taught me valuable nursing skills, hospital nursing started to feel transactional and less about patient care. I needed to find a way to help people that aligned with my passions and values. While helping others comes naturally to me, I also wanted to feel valued and supported in my work.
That’s why I’m proud to be a part of Private Medical, where I can connect with patients proactively and preventively, all while receiving support from my team and organization. It allows me to provide the assistance I want to give and feel fulfilled in my work at the same time.