By Joe Chow, MD, MBA, President, Ambulatory Care
After 52 years of life, I’m still learning about the Asian culture. May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2023, and it is a good reminder for me to reflect and explore the traditions, foods and impact Asian and Pacific Islander Americans have had on this country and on me.
My Childhood Relationship to Culture
During my grade school years, there was not much education or exposure to the Asian culture outside my home. My family lived in a small, rural town in New York where the population was 18,000 and the only Asians in town resided in my household. This is where my education on my heritage began, yet it felt muted. My family celebrated Chinese New Year and ate traditional food made by the best cook I know, my mom, but without much outward fanfare. We were isolated from people who looked like us and shared our cultural background. There were no school celebrations for Chinese New Year back then nor any cultural education.
I cannot say my childhood was a bad experience, as I loved growing up in that small town and the friends that I made. However, when I mention muted, I would say I pretended to be colorblind to skin tone back then, and it felt appropriate. When now, in fact, I am an advocate that we should all see different colors and different cultures. I was coming to this realization when I left to go to a college that had a population greater than my hometown. I was excited to experience diversity!
Honoring Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2023
Fast forward to today, I’m still learning. There is now more awareness of different cultures, and diversity is celebrated. Recently, there have been exciting highlights of Asian culture in pop culture! A Chinese Marvel superhero? Incredible. An Academy Award winning film going to a predominantly Asian cast? Fantastic.
However, during AAPI Month, we must also acknowledge that there unfortunately has been an increase in hate crimes against Asians since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. TeamHealth stands with all those affected by violence and hate against the Asian community, and we are committed to providing resources. Click here to learn more and access more resources.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at TeamHealth
We can all learn about other cultures and understand the meaning behind celebrations and traditions. This can lead to better acceptance of our diverse culture and less bias and hate. TeamHealth is proud to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in all we do. We believe a strong foundation of DEI enriches our culture, improves clinical practice, enhances patient experiences and supports clinician and associate wellness. Learn more about our culture of diversity, equity and inclusion.