Happiness is Why!
What brought you to be an advocate for the American Heart Association?
As a stroke neurologist at Rush, I see many patients whose lives have been affected by stroke and cardiovascular disease. By working with the AHA, I am lucky to be involved in a larger movement beyond just my own patients, in impacting the health and advancing the betterment of a population at large. Advocacy is about change beyond what just one person can do, and it’s so inspiring to be surrounded by people who are dedicated and motivated to improve the lives of others.
What issues or policies are you most passionate about and why?
I’m very passionate about improving the health and lives of Asian-American seniors, who have stroke and cardiovascular health disparities that could be compounded by cultural factors or language barriers. My clinical research focuses on innovative ways to enhance excellent cardiovascular health in this population by partnering with community agencies. I am also very interested in community outreach and education. A group of medical students I mentor recently started an organization where they educate seniors all over Chicago about stroke, and I have several neurology residents with whom I am working on a cardiovascular and stroke health curriculum and mentorship program for high school students. To help support patients and neurologists, I have recently cofounded the Illinois State Neurological Society. Drug pricing is out of control, access to neurologists is becoming increasingly difficult due to an epidemic of physician burnout, and an aging population and increasing regulations will only make the care of patients with neurological conditions more difficult. It’s an exciting new endeavor, and I hope it goes well!
What is your favorite advocacy memory or experience so far and what made it great?
I recently participated in the Conference of Women Legislators Go Red Event in Springfield, Illinois. It was so thrilling to see volunteers out in full force, all wearing bright red, interacting with the state legislators at the State Capitol, and raising awareness for women’s heart health.
What is your favorite way to be active?
I love to be outside! One of my most favorite things is to walk around the Chicago Botanic Gardens with my parents, even in the wintertime – the gardens are truly beautiful in all seasons.
What is your favorite fruit or vegetable?
Sweet potatoes, especially the Korean varieties. As my mother says, “It’s nature’s candy!”