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AAPI Gladys Lee Hwang

Dr. Gladys Lee-Hwang, Director of Labor and Delivery, NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan

In honor of Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, PAGNY is proud to feature one of our many talented AAPI professionals, Dr. Gladys Lee-Hwang!

Dr. Lee-Hwang admits that medicine wasn’t the career path she envisioned for herself. During her undergraduate studies at Wesleyan, she studied art and architectural history, and “avoided anything premed.”

Though her father was a physician, she felt averse to following in his footsteps on the basis: “I actively tried to avoid anything I thought was an Asian-American stereotype.”

While Asian-Americans are disproportionately represented in medical school classes and in the profession, Asian-Americans are underrepresented in academic leadership positions. In American medical schools, 9% of women department chairs and 11% of men department chairs are Asian-American, according to data from the Association of American Medical Colleges.

It wasn’t until her senior year in college that Dr. Lee-Hwang overcame her fear of being placed in a metaphorical box. She realized that “being a physician is a privilege and a meaningful way… to impact lives positively.” During medical school, she chose to specialize in Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN): “Celebrating such a pivotal moment in people’s lives and witnessing the miracle of a new life coming into the world is an incredible privilege.” Caring for women throughout their lives, she adds, brings her joy.

Diversity in medicine is important for patients and to improve health care outcomes.

Dr. Gladys Lee-Hwang Director of Labor and Delivery NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan

At NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan, Dr. Lee-Hwang is the Director of Labor and Delivery. In her position, Dr. Lee-Hwang oversees a care team made up of OB/GYNs and midwives responsible for the safe delivery of infants. Dr. Lee-Hwang is also an Assistant Professor at New York Medical College, as well as the OB/GYN Medical Student Clerkship Site Director.

Though patient bias against Asian-American health care workers is on the rise due to COVID-19—with patient responses ranging from microaggressions in the clinical setting to outright refusal of care—Dr. Lee-Hwang shares that patient health care outcomes are still improved by diversity in medicine.

The best part of her job? “Forming relationships with my patients and working with wonderful colleagues and staff.” Dr. Lee-Hwang smiles, “I truly enjoy going to work almost every day.”

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. Lee-Hwang who provide compassionate service to underserved communities.