In honor of Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, PAGNY is proud to feature one of our many talented AAPI professionals, Dr. Chris Chum!
Dr. Chum is the Director of Advance Endoscopy and Associate Program Director Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at NYC Health + Hospitals/South Brooklyn. Providing compassionate service to those who lack access to health care is an “incredible feeling,” Dr. Chum shares, but mentoring the hospital’s Gastroenterology Fellows or, as he calls them, the “future leading gastroenterologists” is the most rewarding part of his position. He elaborates, “The pleasure of seeing trainees understand pathology [or] when procedural skills ‘click’... [it’s] an unexplainable feeling of joy and accomplishment.”
Since childhood, Dr. Chum knew that he wanted to help people in his community. It’s part of the reason why he works in the neighborhood he grew up in, the hospital he was born in. “The incredible feeling of seeing relief from pain and suffering,” he says, makes practicing medicine fulfilling.
Gastroenterology, in particular, inspired Dr. Chum with its basis in procedural skills and robust medical background. He excitedly shares that gastroenterology is at a renaissance: “It is exciting to be part of innovations that enhance our understanding of diseases and explore less invasive endoscopic surgical therapy, bariatrics, and third space procedures.” With city hospitals investing in professional development and new technologies, working at H+H/South Brooklyn helps Dr. Chum continuously grow as a physician.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, hate crimes against
those of Asian-American and/or Pacific Islander descent skyrocketed,
with attacks increasing 77% between 2019 and 2020, according to a 2020 report.
In Dr. Chum’s words, the COVID-19 pandemic “amplified existing
xenophobia which was often overlooked.”
Racist attacks during the pandemic reinforced in his mind the importance of AAPI representation in medicine, especially in hospital leadership. “It’s crucial to recognize the importance of diversity, which allows one to explore personal growth and the institution’s potential… Discrimination should not exist for anyone; it all starts with having a voice.”
His advice to the next generation of AAPI medical professionals and leaders? “Go for it! As long as you always remember your core values of wanting to help people, you will find [medicine] a lifelong, rewarding process.”
PAGNY is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all realms of our organization, from who we treat to who we hire. We believe in the value of a workforce that looks like the communities that we serve, and know that this improves our care. We are thankful to providers like Dr. Chum who provide compassionate service to underserved communities and impart their passion for medicine upon their students.