Shane Chen oral history interview and transcript, June 23, 2017

Rice University

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0:50 - Introductions and her Chinese name

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Partial Transcript: "Um, so today is June 23rd, 2017, we’re here today at Hope Clinic to interview Shane. Uh, I’m Xingyi Li."

Keywords: change; Chinese name; elementary; English name; foreign; job; legally; name; parents; passport; pronouncing; resume; school; teacher; write

Subjects: change; Chinese name; English name; name

3:19 - Job at Hope Clinic

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Partial Transcript: "Okay. So uh just going back to now, to present. Uh what’s your job in Hope Clinic?"

Keywords: accomplishment; Asian American Health Coalition; care; Chief Operating Officer; City of Houston; community; community leaders; customer; environmental issues; established; everyone; health issues; Hope Clinic; job; logistics; mitigating; mothers; newborns; non-profit; organizations; patient; pregnancy care; privacy; risk; satisfaction; senior citizens; serve; service; social issues; years

Subjects: Asian American Health Coalition; community; Hope Clinic; issues; non-profit organizations

4:46 - Reasons for working for Hope Clinic

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Partial Transcript: "Oh wow. Uh so why did you choose to go to Hope Clinic?"

Keywords: activities; Asian American; bridge; build; celebrating; community leaders; cultural; cultural understanding; heritage; Houston Police Department; local organization; native Hawaiian; Pacific Islander; past roles; population; public; services; social; working

Subjects: community leaders; cultural understanding; Houston Police Department; past roles; population; services

5:36 - Initial role at the Hope Clinic

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Partial Transcript: "So um the Hope Clinic was actually established by the Asian American Health Coalition, at that time I was participating in a lot of the health coalition initiatives and um there was a um program that we got funded for in order to provide capacity development to the coalition..."

Keywords: alone; ashamed; Asian American Health Coaliation; barriers; breast cancer; cancer; cancer care; capacity development; celebrate; community; community impact; concern; emotional; established; family members; funded; health coalition initiatives; health issue; hide; HOPE Clinic; ladies; organizations; overcome; physical; program; public; recovery; resources; stigma; suffering; support; systems change; wigs

Subjects: Asian American Health Coalition; barriers; cancer; established; health issue; HOPE Clinic; program; support

7:38 - Initiatives created to help the community and patients

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Partial Transcript: "so I came here working with Light and Salt association, Chinese community center via teamwork and a lot of the other uh organizations to help bring some awareness, uh lower the stigma, as well as set up support groups."

Keywords: address; American Cancer Society; awareness; breast cancer; Cancer Prevention and Research Initiative of Texas; capacity; cervical cancer; Chinese community center; chronic diseases; community; community partners; cure; education; elected officials; familty; Filipino Cancer Network; funders; funding; grant write; health policies; Hepatitis; Indian American Cancer Network; initiatives; learn; Light and Salt Association; lower; lung cancer; MD Anderson; non-profit organization; organization; partnering; perceive; program management; screenings; smoking; social issues; staff; stigma; support groups; teamwork; treat; understanding

Subjects: community; community partners; education; funding; initiatives; teamwork

10:31 - The progress and changes HOPE Clinic has made

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Partial Transcript: "So speaking of change, how do you see the change like in the Hope Clinic like, based on patients and just workers?"

Keywords: additional; agency; Asian Americans; barrier; behavior health services; capacity; care management; change; charity clinic; community; community leaders; counseling; designation; dynamic; Federal Qualified Health Center; focus groups; forward; funding; health education; hire; HOPE Clinic; immigrants; improve; insurance companies; medical assistants; Medicare; mental health; milestone; multi-ethnic; open; parents; partial; partners; patients; physical health; progress; providers; refugee resettlement; regular; reimbursement; resources; seniors; services; social determinants; social services; staff; triplets; understand

Subjects: capacity; change; community partners; focus groups; funding; HOPE Clinic; parents; progress; resources; services; staff

16:16 - College interests, Career change to non-profit organizations

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Partial Transcript: "Wow, so uh do you always want to work with non-profit and Asian American?"

Keywords: advertisement; advertising; art; Asian American; Asian Pacific American Heritage Association; behave; Buddhist; business; college; community; culture; discrimination; equal employment; fair treatment; faith; graduated; health field; heritage; Houston Police Department; involved; major; marketing; misunderstandings; Muslim; native Hawaiian; non-profit organization; Pacific Islander; parents; perceive; practices; product; psychology; public; Ramadan; services; stereotypes; tests; understand; workplace; young

Subjects: Asian Pacific American Heritage Assocation; business; college; community; health field; major; non-profit organization; parents

18:50 - Deconstructing the 'Asian' stereotype, Development of diverse cuisines in Houston

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Partial Transcript: "Um that had been really rewarding as well because we were able to--it was an eye opener for me too because I for one, had to really learn about oh wow there's Micronesia, Polynesia and also Hawaiians."

Keywords: Americanized; Asians; Asiatown; businesses; Chinatown; Chinese; coffee shop; cuisines; culture; different; dumpling; faith; food; group; Hawaiians; Houston; immigrants; immigrated; language; Micronesia; Polynesia; population; practices; proud; restaurants; South Asian; Southwest; supermarket; tapioca tea; world

Subjects: Asian; businesses; Chinatown; cuisines; culture; faith; Houston; practices; restaurants

21:04 - Initial organization and partners of HOPE Clinic

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Partial Transcript: "We settled here originally because back in 2002 when they decided to set up the clinic, they opened up a, makeshift, I want to say, four hours, once a month..."

Keywords: Chinese Bible Church; Chinese Community Center; clinic; consult; doctors; donate; donation; emergency room; establish; forward; funding; home; makeshift; med school; medication; nurses; originally; partnered; resources; screenings; sustainable; time; volunteers

Subjects: Chinese Bible Church; Chinese Community Center; clinic; donations; resources; volunteers

22:18 - Big change after Hurricane Katrina

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Partial Transcript: "One of the biggest uh change was when hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana, a lot of the Vietnamese who actually fled Louisiana settled in over on the other side of [inaudible]."

Keywords: anxiety; assistance; Beltway 8; biggest; blood pressure; change; charity; churches; doctors; environment; fever; fled; Hong Kong Supermarket; Hurricane Katrina; Louisiana; makeshift clinic; medical; medical corps; medical schools; medication; provide; settled; stress; Vietnamese; volunteer

Subjects: assistance; change; Hong Kong Supermarket; Hurricane Katrina; makeshift clinic; Vietnamese; volunteer doctors

23:28 - Gradual growth of HOPE Clinic

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Partial Transcript: "So um our first grant, big grant was actually from Aetna Foundation, thank you so much and we were able to use that money to kind of build a little more resources for us to open maybe two, three days a week."

Keywords: administrative; Aetna Foundation; build; care; community; days; eligibility team; exam; family practitioner; funder; funding; gradually; grant; income; insurance; issues; Medicaid; money; OB/GYN; open; pediatric; rent; resources; room; Snap; space; vaccines; Wick

Subjects: Aetna Foundation; build; care; grant; resources

25:10 - Services and resources available for families

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Partial Transcript: "We had um a refugee family that started with us as soon as they settled in, the child actually is disabled, had Down Syndrome, and also have other health issues including cardio and probably uh nasal."

Keywords: breast cancer; build; capacity; care; cervical cancer; child; chronic diseases; community; compliance; customer service; family; Harris County; health issues; hired; Houston; knowledge; learning disability; MD Anderson; patients; population; professionalism; refugee; resources; services; smoking; specialists; staff; staff meetings; topics; understand; Zika

Subjects: care; customer service; family; knowledge; resources; services; specialists

26:39 - HOPE Clinic's biggest accomplishment of opening a second site, Importance of pregnancy care

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Partial Transcript: "So gradually we were able to um expand out and um I want to say that um our biggest accomplishment was opening our second site, second location..."

Keywords: accomplishment; assistance; baby; Baylor; biggest; birthing classes; breastfeeding; burden; car seats; care; coach; coordination; cost; doctors; ER; expand; families; friends; gradually; guidance; guiding; healthy; hospital; immediate care; insurance; knowledge; labor; location; Medicaid; network; nurses; OB/GYN; partnership; pediatrician; posting; pregnant; reduce; resources; retiring; second; service; streamlining; Sudden Infant Death Syndrome; transitioning

Subjects: accomplishment; care coordination; doctors; friends; network; nurses; OB/GYN; pediatrician; pregnancy; second location; streamlining

30:11 - Impacts of the Clinic's care and efficiency, Effects of the current political climate and ICE

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Partial Transcript: "Um, so I feel like our work does impact and ourselves as well as our staffs' experience in life helps us make better determination of how we can better provide care and that bridging and the guidance to a lot of the indigent patients..."

Keywords: administration; appointment; arrested; better; bridging; care; checkup; concerned; deported; determination; experience; grow; guidance; health; help; ICE; impact; information; kids; life; locations; migrate; organizations; patients; political climate; priority; privacy; progess; reassure; schedule; seamless; sensitive; staff; sting; undocumented; unfortunate; womb; work

Subjects: care; ICE; impact; information; patients; political climate; sensitive; staff

32:39 - Her birth and childhood, Importance of education and challenges growing up

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Partial Transcript: "Okay, so kind of bring back to your childhood, uh when and where were you born?"

Keywords: academic challenges; accelerated; access; achieve; Asians; born; camp; campus; challenge; childhood; clubs; college; competitive; curriculum; dad; education; educational; English; family; family friends; field trips; first; growing up; Houston; Houston Independent School District; job; kids; math; middle school; mom; parents; participate; resources; Rice University; shirts; siblings; sister; six; southwest; speech; summer camps; support; Taipei; Taiwan; tennis; US; writing

Subjects: born; camps; challenge; childhood; education; family; Rice University; support

35:40 - Her parents' jobs, Description of her childhood

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Partial Transcript: "So what did your parents do for a living whenever they came over?"

Keywords: access; achieve; apartments; aunt; champion; childhood; Chinese; clinic; contractor; dad; eligibility staff; English; family; food; friends; future; grandmother; home; houses; information; kids; lunch; meal programs; mom; money; moved; neiborhood; opportunity; painting; parents; play; refugee; save; school; social services; Spanish; strive; together; trash; yards

Subjects: dad; home; meal programs; mom; opportunity; parents; school

39:36 - Why her parents decided to immigrate to America

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Partial Transcript: "Okay, so uh why did your family decide to move here?"

Keywords: Asia; brother; company; education; family; global; high school; higher education; immigrated; island; leap; lifestyle; move; opportunity; perspective; proud; shipping; sister; Taiwan; teacher; thankful; US; world

Subjects: brother; education; family; immigrants; sister; Taiwan; US

40:48 - Perception of America before immigrating, Struggles faced actually growing up in America

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Partial Transcript: "Have you ever like think about going to America like when you are a kid?"

Keywords: America; aunt; beautiful country; cartoon; Chinese; classmate; elementary school; English; enunciate; grandmother; ice cream; kid; Mandarin; memory; siblings; strawberry; struggle; TV; word

Subjects: America; English; grandmother; Mandarin; Taiwan

43:12 - The impact of being an immigrant, How the clinic works to alleviate some of the issues immigrants face

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Partial Transcript: "But I remember for kids struggling what they feel had to, what it feels like to not know English and for little ,little, little kids to have to face that."

Keywords: afterschool programs; anger; anxiety; Asian Pacific American Heritage Association; assessments; awareness; behavior health; board; bridge; bullying; burden; Chinese name; colleague; community leaders; community partners; counseling; culturally; diversity; education; elementary schools; employment; English; ESL; experience; factors; faith; family; foreign; friends; HISD; Houston; immigrants; impact; initiatives; intentions; issues; job; kids; language barrier; leadership; meals; name; observe; organizations; parents; partner; partnership; political climate; races; recollection; refugee assistant resources; refugees; request; resilient; resources; school systems; sensitive; staff; stress; struggling; teachers; teaching administrators; trained; United Methodist Church; victims; violence; youth programs

Subjects: Asian Pacific American Heritage Assocation; community leaders; counseling; education; employment; English; experience; impact; initiatives; language barrier; meals; programs; school systems

48:30 - The neighborhoods she grew up in

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Partial Transcript: "So were you living at highly Asian neighborhood when you first moved here?"

Keywords: accepting; accomodating; acculturated; Asian; Chinese movie theater; choosing; community; developed; diversity; empty; libraries; live; living; moved; multi-ethnic; neighborhood; parents; places; race; recollection; resources; restaurants; schools; shop; singular; Southwest; stringent; Sugar Land; supermarket

Subjects: community; diversity; moved; multi-ethnic; neighborhood; parents; resources; Sugar Land

50:58 - How colleges and choosing careers have changed

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Partial Transcript: "So where and when did you go to college?"

Keywords: acceptance; achieve; advertising; careers; child; college; communtiy; doctors; engineers; exploration; families; globalization; grow; health field; high schools; interesting; kids; lawyers; marketing; nineties; options; parents; passionate; programs; refugee; school; staffs; STEM; technology; tolerance; UT; young adults

Subjects: careers; college; health field; options; programs; technology; UT

53:40 - Communities in college, Opportunities and initiatives available for college students to shape society

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Partial Transcript: "So at UT, were you involved in the Asian American community there? Was there much of them?"

Keywords: ACLU; Asian American; Asian Pacific; block walking; call to action; cell phones; church; civic engagement; college student; communication; community; connect; education; engage; equality; Facebook; friends; group; health advocacy; initiatives; national initiatives; Native Hawaiian; networks; opportunity; Pacific Islander; partnered; platforms; political; political candidates; resource; Rice University; similar; smartphone; Snapchat; social advocacy; social change; social media; student groups; students; systems change; Twitter; UCA; University of Houston; UT; utilize; Vietnamese Student Association; voters' rights; WIFI

Subjects: community; education; engage; friends; initiatives; networks; platforms; social media; UT

56:45 - The value in following your passion and civic engagement, Discrimination in the health care field

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Partial Transcript: "So did your parents give you a lot of pressure during…like you have to be a doctor or…?"

Keywords: achieve; Asian; Asian American; block walking; boy scout; bragging rights; calls; civic engagement; College of Optometry; communicate; community; community clinic; compassionate; counselor; discrimination; doctor; elected official; English; entrepreneur; ethics; graduate; greatness; health coalition; healthcare professional; impact; interpreter; kids; kindness; language barrier; learn; meaningful; Medicaid; medical; Medicare; mentality; Muscular Dystrophy Association; parents; patience; patient; pressure; primary provider; programs; school; social responsibility; son; strength; students; systems change; University of Houston; voices; volunteering; weaknesses; worldly; young adults

Subjects: Asian American; civic engagement; community; discrimination; parents; primary providers; programs; social responsibility; systems change; volunteer

62:26 - Preserving the Chinese culture and embracing being Chinese American

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Partial Transcript: "So uh how did you family preserve the Chinese culture in your home?"

Keywords: ancestors; celebrate; child; Chinese; Chinese American; culture; customs; embrace; English; food; grandparents; history; home; interested; language; language school; Lunar New Year; Mandarin Chinese; practice; preserve; roots; understand

Subjects: Chinese; Chinese American; culture; customs; language

64:11 - How Houston has changed over the years, Hopes for the future of America

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Partial Transcript: "So uh just to wrap up. How do you see the change in Houston over these twenty years you have been here?"

Keywords: America; Beijing; bills; business; celebrate; change; China; contribute; country; cross-city exchanges; cross-continent; culture; democratic; engage; Europe; exchange; facilities; greatness; Harris Country; hopeful; Houston; identify; immigration; investment; knowledge; leadership; LGBT; local institutions; medical center; medicine; opportunities; physicians; population; progress; progression; punishing; refugees; relationship; research; researchers; rights; sanctuary cities; share; state; system; technology; Texas; tolerance; trade; undocumented; vote; world; young leaders

Subjects: change; country; culture; engage; exchange; Houston; immigration; knowledge; medical center; progress; Texas; vote


Interviewee: Shane Chen

Interviewers: Xingyi Li, Anna Ta

Date/Time of Interview: June 23, 2017, at 2:00PM

Transcribed by: Xingyi Li

Audio Track Time: 1:10:56

Edited by: Brianna Satow (6/1/18)


Shane Chen was born in Taipei, Taiwan and immigrated to Houston, US with her family at the age of six. She graduated from University of Texas with a psychology major and advertising minor. She briefly worked in the marketing industry and became involved in Asian Pacific American Association to preserve the culture heritage and bridge immigrant community with local community. She began working for Hope Clinic nine years ago. She is the Chief Operating Officer in charge of daily logistics, evaluation of patient care, patient satisfaction, etc.


The interview was conducted in the afternoon of June 23, 2017. The interview takes place in Hope Clinic's conference room. The interview was an hour and ten minutes. Shane Chen recollected her upbringing, childhood memory, and her involvement with Hope Clinic. The interview centered Hope Clinic's mission and operation.


SC: Shane Chen

XL: Xingyi Li

AT: Anna Ta

--: speech cuts off; abrupt stop

--: speech trails off; pause Italics: emphasis

(?): preceding word may not be accurate [Brackets]: actions [laughs, sighs, etc.]


XL: Um, so today is, [SC: 23rd June.] today is June the 23rd, 2017, we're here today at Hope Clinic to 1:00interview Shane. Uh, I'm Xingyi Li.

AT: And I'm Anna Ta.

XL: So can you say your name?

SC: Yes, my name is Shane Chen.

XL: Shane Chen--can you write it down?

SC: Sure.

XL: Uh--do you have a Chinese name?

SC: Um my Chinese name is Chen Xiang Jun.

XL: Chen Xiang Jun. Uh--Can you write it down in Chinese?

SC: Oh my goodness, my handwriting is horrible so don't [laugh] I came here when I was very little so I have elementary school handwriting for my Chinese--don't make fun of me.

XL: [laugh] It's okay. Alright. Can you show it to the camera?

SC: Yes, I can.

XL: Let me zoom it in. Chen Xiang Jun. [SC: Mhmm.] Shane Chen. So--did your mother--um did your parents give you the English name?

SC: No. It actually is a--is a kind of a not direct translation but um after 2:00graduating from college. Uh, it is the--when I immigrated here on the passport it actually is spelled H-S-I-A-N-G and um everyone had really hard time pronouncing it growing up. So um in um elementary school and um even in just grade level school, I would sit there, anticipate the teacher roll calling and um basically hold my breath and usually when they get to the C's the teacher would stop for a moment and--cause they're struggling to pronounce it, and then I would say "I'm right here! I'm right here!". [laugh] It is pronounced "Shane" and so um after college I was thinking--You know if I want to get a job on the resume if I actually have my name in a very foreign way, chances are that people wasn't--they can't pronounce it, they're not even really gonna look at it. So I basically um had been telling my name um it's pronounced kind of like "Shane" but "Hsien" but you know with a "g" 3:00so I just decided I'm just going to change it. And so growing um up my cousins usually just call me Shane. And so I said well I'll just keep it sim--something simple. So, that's why I changed it legally after graduating from college.

XL: Okay. So uh just going back to now, to present. Uh what's your job in Hope Clinic?

SC: So I'm the Chief Operating Officer. I basically take care of the day to day problematic as well as some of the um functioning logistics and um as well as looking at um the privacy in mitigating some of the risk and um patient care, patient um satisfaction, customer care, um I um had been with Hope Clinic for a little bit over 9 years, almost 10 years. And um prior to that, I have been working with other non-profit organizations as well, as well as the city of Houston. Um, I am very proud of our accomplishment over at the Hope Clinic. Um, it was actually 4:00established by the Asian American Health Coalition to serve the community and right now as you can see in our waiting area, we service everyone. Um, we call it a cradle--womb to tomb, there you go. I--I call it cradle to grave um cradle to grave, um no, birth to grave at first, but you know, that sounds so morbid, why don't we just call it womb to tomb? Okay, sure. So we have newborns and we also have the senior citizens that we take care of, and we also help a lot of the mothers, make sure they get their g--good pregnancy care; and we work with various community leaders and organizations to look at health issues as well as addressing um the social issues, environmental issues, pertaining to people's health and become the champion.

XL: Oh wow. Uh so why do you--why did you choose to go to Hope Clinic?

SC: So my past roles have always been working with Asian American, um Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander population. And I had uh been in roles where I would 5:00work with the Houston Police Department, work with different community leaders to build cultural understanding, you know, um celebrating the heritage. Uh so there's--there is a bridge, a closer bridge between the general public as well as the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific islanders um through ours, through you know, through activities, building understanding, and so I'm very familiar with a lot of our community leaders and also uh the local organizations providing social, cultural and other services to the population here.

So um the Hope Clinic was actually established by the Asian American Health Coalition, at that time I was a member, I participated in a lot of the health coalition initiatives and um there was a um program that we got funded for, in order to provide capacity development to the coalition, to the organization as well as community at large for systems change as well as community impact. And that was 6:00my role initially to really work with people here to look at what are the current issues, which at that time we chose cancer as a health issue and we decided, you know, with cancer, um people would have issue--concerns, barriers accessing cancer care. And some of the ladies who have breast cancer, they need so much support and so much resources, but it--it's a stigma. And they're so ashamed of having cancer because it seems like "oh, well, there's something bad in your family then", you know, you have the bad gene, you have cancer. So we have instances where a woman would be diagnosed with uh breast cancer, and um she wouldn't tell anybody in fear that her daughter would not be marriageable because it would actually, people would look down on the family and say "oh, well then maybe her daughter would get breast cancer too", so she would hide it from her family and everyone else. And so you have people who were suffering alone by themselves and not getting the proper care and having optimal 7:00recovery, and same with a lot of the other ladies who may have some support from their family members, but they don't want the people in the public to know. So a lot of the times, they are wearing wigs slightly lopsided or they're needing better wigs, they are just using whatever they can get for wigs, postiches and um it's not--women shouldn't have to be like that. The fact that they can actually beat cancer, the fact that they can actually overcome that challenge, you know, uh both emotional and also physical, they should, it's something they-they should celebrate, so I came here working with Light and Salt community--Light and Salt Association, Chinese Community Center via teamwork and a lot of the other uh organizations to help bring some awareness, uh lower the stigma, as well as set up support groups.

So from that particular initiative, we set up the uh Indian American Cancer Network 8:00of Houston and also the Filipino Cancer Network; and they pretty much learn from each other, it was a really awesome cohort um partnering with American Cancer Society and MD Anderson. We received a little funding from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, CPRIT, which generously allowed us to do a lot of education, a lot of um the screenings in the community, which we made significant change to help people perceive hepatitis, people perceive breast and cervical cancer, as well as smoking and lung uh lung cancer. So um through those changes, of course, we were, the coalition--the Asian American Health Coalition as well as the clinic itself take on--took on a lot of that um reduction of the stigma, for example, hepatitis B can be managed, hepatitis C can be cured, uh we wanted to be able to address it with your families, so that people are educated, people know that hey, we can 9:00actually um make sure the whole family is going properly, understand the disease, I mean there's hepatitis ABCDEFG, there's a wide range, but have a better understanding of what they're dealing with, so they can actually treat it, or cure it. And you can actually just stop right there, so it wouldn't be spread to other people. So um, that champion, that kind of you know initiative itself, a lot of people, for goodness sake, every year we are screening roughly uh a thousand people uh just partnering with various organization and there's still a lot more other broader ranges so now our community partners have a lot more capacity cause at that time we were teaching them how to grant write, how to talk to funders, how to talk to elected officials who are--or people who make the decisions, so they can help make the systems change, so smaller organization that had like a part-time executive director, or manager whatever, or now--or someone it's not a non-profit, it was just a 10:00thought, they are now a sustainable non-profit organization. And they are doing their own grant writing, they are also doing their own um program management as well as adding more staff to the capacity, so that they're doing more to really address chronic diseases, um current um the policies, health policies, um or any other social issues at hand.

XL: So speaking of change, how do you see the change like in the Hope Clinic like based on like patients and just workers?

SC: So it had been a uh wonderful and dynamic um progress over the last years. We were originally a um just a regular charity clinic. Uh, we were open maybe three days a week? Very partial with maybe altogether seven FTE staff and um we went 11:00from--from there. In 2008, we received a designation of the uh Federal Qualified Health Center lookalike(?) which allowed us to have a little more resources to be able to um bill insurance companies or Medicaid and be able to get more funding and better uh reimbursement from uh Medicaid patients. So that resources and the fact that we were kind of moving forward, progressing forward allowed us to bring in additional um services, more providers, more medical assistants, and actually grow the services that we offer by really working with people who live around here, work around here, and even like go to school around here to say what are some of your needs, what are some of your concerns, what are--what can we address.

Um I remember one of the focus group that we had, we had a lot of seniors 12:00who were signed on to Medicare. They were really upset that, "well you know, my husband and I would have to pay 600 dollars a month that's a lot of money, and then on top of that, we still have a lot of donut holes and gaps and stuff when we go seek our services". Insurance even for our age, you know, for their age especially when they really need it is not affordable. And uh they're concerned that because their um you know inability to pay that they really would have to skip certain medications or certain services. And then we're like no, no, no, no, no, so don't--don't worry about that, we will take care of you, we actually have ways of being able to kind of slide your based on your current situation, your household, but do not let the inability to pay be a barrier; and then also working with um families, basically you know I have a teenager I don't know how to talk to my teenager, I know he's into something bad, maybe like drugs or drinking, but I don't know how to talk to him and I don't know how to help him, and that's when we really brought in behavior health services and counseling, 13:00family counseling to try to help address those for parents to be able to come in and talk to somebody and in--invite their kids to come in and also talk to a counselor and work together as a family dynamic. Um that's how we determine and strategize what services we need to tackle next and be able to really help the community improve not only their physical health but also their mental health and also maybe help--helping with their current environment and condition which we called social determinants and also being more their focus, patient focused, community focused.

Um so I feel like over the pro--progress we helped community leaders and our partners improve their capacity, now it's our chance to really help patients, improve their capacity and their knowledge and empower them to be to take care of themselves, go help them vote. You don't like your insurance, say something; understand what's going on so that it doesn't get taken away from you; be your 14:00own master. So uh we are hoping to kind of progress with that, even with the clinic itself, we started off with seven uh staff, mainly um Asian American, but we grew and as we are servicing the different population that are living around here, we partnered a lot with the refugee resettlement agency and we also hire from within the community, so it's very multi-ethnic and a lot of them are immigrants. Maybe like uh I want to say 60 percent, 65 percent of our staffs are foreign born, some of our staff were born here but they have parents that are immigrants. They're um they're um also very proud of the heritage. Um they embrace, for them including you know um those who were born here, understanding what their parents really had really gone through by seeing what our patients are going through gives them a 15:00better kind of a mental setback of hey, what my parents went through that they were refugees also or they were immigrants and they struggled, they raised me and um, they take pride in what they do, providing health education, helping the patients with social services and care coordination, screening for eligibility, signing them up for the ACA, providing them with uh care management, talking to patients who basically have concern about getting lab done because uh you know how am I going to pay and our staff say you know don't worry we have the resources we will take care of you.

I think for them that's very rewarding and that's also very best feeling to leave the day feeling like you really helped somebody, and coming to work the next day you're like you're thinking what--who else I can help today. So over at our [inaudible] site, we basically just delivered triplets and so for one of the hospital that we are uh credentialed at, they never had triplets before and this is a natural born--natural birth, so for us, it's a milestone, that we are able to help a lot of the 16:00immigrant women who come to this country and these triplets and actually have great start to a new life and they got timely care and the babies are healthy and that's the best feeling in the world.

XL: Wow, so uh do you always want to work with non-profit and Asian American?

SC: So I had graduated originally like any Asian uh parents, my mom and dad wanted me to go into the health field. [laugh] Go be a doctor, go be a optometrist, go be a dentist, so I took all those major tests, and I was like oh my gosh, why, I'm so miserable. I don't want to study for these tests and I don't want to look at people's eyes the whole day. So my last year of college, I changed my major to uh major in psychology, minor in um advertising, so I wanted to go in to the business field and I wanted to go and be creative 17:00and have design that you know, advertisement. Needless to say, I worked in there for a year and a half, two years and I realized I really don't like lying to people. You know, with marketing and advertising, you have to create a product even though you--they don't--it's not a great product and you don't believe in it. But you have to spin it to where: it's wonderful, you have to buy it, you have to try it out. Right? And so at the end of the day, you feel like oh, you know [laughs] I'm lying to people. They're gonna buy it I--they're just gonna be, you know, losing their money.

And so um from there I actually just kind of put one foot, cause I was um young and I was involved with the community, uh I started working for not-for-profit organizations called Asian Pacific American Heritage Association and that's when I started working with culture and arts and heritage and also bridging that understanding and then also making sure that we reduce misunderstandings, stereotypes of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander. So for 18:00example, if people are behaving a certain way, for um either it's uh the Muslin faith, or for the uh Buddhist faith, how would the Houston Police Department or how would any of the other uh local public better perceive and why they would behave a certain way, so as uh you know, ma--many of the uh Muslim faiths, they celebrate Ramadan and they have their certain practices, and to make sure on um the uh equal employment and um fair treatment uh aspect that people understand that they have to actually have certain practices, understand what their faith is, understand what their culture is, so that as they, in a workplace or in the public uh arena, there is better services and um less discrimination.

Um that had been really rewarding as well because we were able to--it was an eye opener for me too because I for one, had to really learn about oh wow there's 19:00Micro--Micronesia, Polynesia and also Hawaiians. Not nec--they're so different for someone from either Cook or New Guinea, and just being able to differentiate um even the South Asia population that they have different culture, different languages and different um practices and um despite what other people basically think Asians, it's not, it's not just one group of people, it's very different cultures, diff--different ways of practicing faith, different ways of-- different food, cuisines; and as you guess, I don't know if you were um been in Houston. So I um been--I immigrated to Houston back in the 80s and so I grew up here. So back then there was a very, very small Chinatown, and you can kind of see the progression of Asiatown here in the Southwest. It was just maybe one supermarket back then and uh maybe a couple of 20:00small businesses and restaurants and very, very Americanized Chinese restaurants sporadically placed, so you can see now there's a lot more immigrants here with um Hindi uh--the-uh--hi--Malaysian food, the fusion. I know we even have some Hawaiian--native Hawaiians opening restaurants with the little coffee shop and we are very proud of the fact that um nowadays, you can actually have different cuisines and other people from all over Houston and or from around the world will come here and try the cuisine and say oh well that's from Sichuan or that's from other places of Shanghai dumpling or whatever and be able to appreciate tapioca tea! [laugh] Who doesn't drink tapioca tea nowadays? Who doesn't google "where does tapioca tea come from?" you know and then learn a little bit of history about boba tea, so um we've seen changes both at the clinic as well as within the community.


We settled here originally because back in 2002 when the--when they decided to set up the clinic, they opened up a makeshift, I want to say, four hours, once a month, maybe on a Thursday or Tuesday and it would just be volunteers from med school, uh doctors, nurses that donate their time just to kind of provide some screenings and some people would chip in some resources. We would ask for maybe five dollar donation, 3 dollar donation, whatever that they can kind of chip in a little bit, but that was not sustainable. We partnered with Chinese Community Center and Chinese Bible Church down the street to establish that. Now where the people supposed to go on the days that for example you are doing this once a month, somewhere along the way they lost their medication. Who are they supposed to turn to and they need that hypertension or diabetes medication. If the medication--they got the new medication an--and the dosages are a little high, they don't feel well after taking it, who are they supposed to consult? After they go 22:00home and they're feeling really sick, the only thing they can do is to go to the emergency room, right? So um we decided you know we need to gradually move this forward and we were very fortunate to get a little bit of funding here and there.

Um, one of the biggest uh change was when hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana, a lot of the um Vietnamese who actually fled Louisiana settled in over on the other side of Beltway 8. They predominantly were um sleeping and being um assisted by some of the churches and people of Hong Kong Supermarket, and from there we decided hey there's--we got to go out there and provide some medical assistance also because a lot of them fled without the medication or because of all the stress and the anxiety, their blood pressure went up. Or they are feeling sick because of um you know cold or whatnot, fever and whatnot, so the change in environment. So we decided 23:00to work with medical schools, work with a lot of the um volunteer charity doctors, the um the medical corps and provide makeshift clinic right in Hong Kong Supermarket, so basically we triage and trying to see what we can do to help them, hey what is your concern, oh you stepped on a nail; you cut yourself on your way over here and you haven't had it addressed? Let's make sure that we clean it and then give you the proper vaccination.

So um our first grant, big grant was actually from Aetna Foundation, thank you so much and we were able to use that money to kind of um build a little more resources for us to open maybe two, three days a week. Um, in 2006 we received some funding to open up a small, very, very small, I want to say two, three exam rooms and also maybe some administrative rooms right here and that's roughly when I joined. We were able to get additional resources and gradually we piece 24:00meal together and we rent from this particular space, but the thing is we have always been very fortunate that when we really need it, that someone always stepped up to the plate from the community or one of our funders and we were able to bring that resources and add OB/GYN care, um so pediatric. Back then it was just a part-time family practitioner and we decided oh well, perhaps family practitioner, they--they still have a little concern when it comes to little, little, little kids, you know, "oh my goodness, I did something and his ear has a little bit blood in there" and so our family practitioner are like "ooh a pediatrician should look at this, maybe I should sent them to Texas Children's", but you're talking about kids who may be uninsured, so we built our own capacity to help to have a eligibility team, screen them for hey, what is your household income, can we get you on Wick, can we get you on Snap, can we get you on Medicaid or chip, and so we started from there, brought in all the family and make sure that they were 25:00screened properly and the kids can get vaccines and if they have other issues we can address that.

We had um a refugee uh family that started with us as soon as they settled in, um the--the child actually is disabled, had Down Syndrome, and um also have other health issues including cardio and probably uh nasal. So her whole health was affected, learning disability and she is probably the mental capacity of one and half year old and at that time I think she was maybe four or five years old so what can we, what--what services and resources can we offer this family to make sure they--they're helped, so we hired from within the community as the patients are coming in and we helped them um really build their own capacity by learning about the compliance, 26:00learning about the professionalism, patient--patient uh you know customer service, about different chronic diseases. We were able to bring in specialists working with MD Anderson to present Harris County, and the city of Houston. Uh and we were talking about different topics from all staff meetings, so we would talk about Zika, what is Zika, what is Zika's impact, we talk about cervical cancer, breast cancer, smoking, why is smoking--we talked about smoking too. And we would make sure the staff really understand these are the things that pertains to this population that we serve and for them to have the knowledge to give better care for the patients, so gradually we were able to um expand out.

And um I want to say that um our biggest accomplishment was opening our second site, second location which we partnered with a retiring OB/GYN and also being able to tag on that service and actually 27:00improve that process of providing OB/GYN care as well as streamlining access to care, getting the resources, getting assistance, getting Medicaid, getting the Wick for pregnant mom, having a better understanding of you know SIDS, sudden death syn--infant death syndrome, understanding about car seats, understanding about breast feeding. With our partnership with Wick as well as transitioning to where your baby was born healthy and the baby is bridged immediately to a pediatrician. So um re--regardless--despite the one of the popular belief, I have insurance, and I was really lucky through work and everything, um when I was pregnant, I thought, you know--I went to Baylor at that time and they are going to provide me with the best care coordination and I don't have to worry about anything. Despite 28:00that, I was not told about uh the birthing classes. I was not told about a lot of the you need to pick a pediatrician. It's all pretty much getting the word, you know, like my friends posting because--my friends of the same birthing--um the same age, they were also giving birth and they were--they are learning from their friends too. What you need to do and um you know um what you--you need to sign up for, but because certain things were not shared, I was really behind. I didn't take any birthing class. I would have just cut a cold turkey and the nurses had--have to tell me exactly what to do. So I didn't know about hospital visits and signing all your paperwork, so finally right before I gave birth I went and visited the hospital and had to fill out the paperwork three times because they keep losing it, and then also pick--picking a pediatrician and it wasn't until I was--um my child had stayed at the hospital for NICU for a little bit and at--while he's at the NICU I'm asking what are some of your doctors [laughs] out here that I 29:00can choose.

But the thing is I have insurance, I am a very educated, um Americanized Chinese American, what about the other people that don't have that kind of guidance and the same type of network and the same knowledge to resources? What would they do? How would they know to come here because a lot of the culture, they only go see the doctor, they go to the hospital when they need to give birth. "Oh, I'm in pain, I'm delivering, I'm going to the hospital". It might be false labor, it might be, just kind of like a, you know, a cramp, but they would be wasting their money in an ER for a labor that is not an actual one, so what can we do to actually bridge that immediate care so we are guiding them along the way and then if they feel like "you know what, I think it's time", they can call our nurses and the nurse can coach them again and time them a little bit and say "yes it's time you're due" or "no, no, no let's mo--let's mo--monitor is too short, why don't you come to the clinic and let's check you out", right? And that actually reduces the costs and burdens to the 30:00family and also re--reduces the bottleneck over the ER for something like " you're not exactly, you can go home now". [laugh] So.

Um, so I feel like our work does impact and our--ourselves as well as our staffs' experience in life helps us make better determination of how we can better provide the--the care and that bridging and the guidance to a lot of the indigent patients, and so for us, we created it so it's seamless "Oh you deliver babies here" "here are all our information", "here's all our pediatrician", or whatever at these three different locations, please choose one and make sure this date let's go ahead and schedule your appointment, by this date bring your babies back, and let's get your babies tested and vaccinated and everything. And then we progress to say this is the schedule for checkup and for follow up. So it's seamless. And it is, it is womb to tomb. Um, I also feel like as we grow, uh the 31:00dynamic changes as well. People migrate, and we had to be very aware of uh especially the uh current political climate, um I know um people are um very concerned about uh what's going on right now with our administration. Some of the pe--patients, even from our staffs, they are noticing also, once upon a time, those who are undocumented would come here and seek help and bring their kids here if they are not feeling well.

And we are also noticing as well that people are a lot more sensitive now in fear that there's going to be a ICE uh sting and they would be deported, they would be arrested, so um different--other organizations are noticing the same thing like right behind on Beachnet(?) near 59, there was a sting recently, and so in the past, you do see a lot of day workers, day laborers right at Home Depot and also 32:00right at the gas station looking for jobs, you don't see that anymore, because everybody is afraid that the ICE is going to be there to pick them all up, so um we are trying our best to reassure all the patients that we're going to be standing by and making sure that their health is the priority, and uh--especially their privacy itself is also the utmost priority but um it's an unfortunate period that we have to kind of experience.

XL: Okay, so kind of bring back to your childhood, uh when and where were you born?

SC: I was born in Taipei, Taiwan. And um I immigrated the to US when I was about six years old. And first place of stay was actually just kind of like centralized Southwest part of town in Houston and uh my family which include my mom, dad 33:00and my two siblings, we came here with very little. We were very fortunate to have good family support. My parents pretty much had to start from scratch as you--you know when you immigrate, immigrate over here to find a job, to learn English and same with my siblings as well. Um I think we were very fortunate family as well that we had--we were able to do a little bit well and also be able to um have some of the access to a lot of the um the uh the education as well as the resources that we had. Cause you know I--I know we have friends that are a lot more less fortunate, um so growing up I know uh my mom would try to scrimp and save so we can actually have the best, what everybody else, uh everybody else, all the other kids would be able to kind of tap into including like summer camps or attending different educational, you know like when you are 34:00in high school, you go to academic challenges and whatnot. You still have to buy shirts, clubs, whatever, you still have to participate, school field trips, so we were able to participate in most of those. I remember that um back in I think middle school we--some of our family friends, they had kids that went to Rice University for summer camp. They had curriculums, um the math, writing, speech and tennis, and so my parents learned about it. It was not, it was not cheap and so she managed to kind of scrape some money to send my sister and myself to the camp. It was a great experience being able to walk on a college campus, being able to see what college life is about, so it kind of inspired you a little bit more to be--be, to achieve, to you know, to be able to um to a--accomplish a lot of the academic um knowledge and 35:00acquirement of--to make sure that um you are competitive with your peers because a lot of the you really see "oh I thought I was the smart one in my class", apparently gosh there's a lot smart people here, a lot of them are Asians, so [laugh] um that--that was an eye opener because we were attending the Houston Independent School District and our small little school itself we were always like "oh, we made As in our multiplication math and whatever" but when you go and you see other kids that they are accelerated, they know their geometries, and they know their algebra already, then you want to challenge yourselves a little bit more.

AT: So what did your parents do for a living whenever they came over?

SC: So my dad was a contractor. He did a lot of labor work and so my mom was a stay home mom. I remember when we first moved over here, we were uh staying in the apartments and uh that actually was memory of ourselves as well as my 36:00grandmother and my aunts staying in you know in the similar nearby apartments. I remember um at that time you don't think much so childhood wise when kids actually see the apartment you make friends with--because I remember growing up we had other Chinese kids and other kids in that apartment that we would play with and who we go to school with. And um looking back, I think our--a lot of our kids that we serve that lives around here in the--the, especially the refugee kids are very resilient as well. Um we want to make sure that um that they also have um similar opportunity to achieve and be able to kind of you know, um attain the best of--strive and attain the best possible future for themselves just like myself.

Um, my dad and--parents were able to kind of save a little bit of money then we moved to a different neighborhood and we were renting houses for a while. And of course, growing up, you don't really think about um the um the type of life style, you 37:00just remember the good things about hey the family being together, you know, at least um kind of helping your parents as they--they are cleaning people's yards or helping your parents pick up stuff as they are painting people's houses, um taking the trash to--to um to the big dumping um the dumping ground to dump, but you really don't think about "oh--gosh I was really poor". So and then back then I remember there was no--nobody educating us about some of the social services, especially like the meal programs at school, that's one thing that I'm really really biggest champion about too. So here, my registered dietician know about it, most of my eligibility staff, they all know about this that hey summer meal program, you don't want the kids to be home hungry. You sign up, you call 3-1-1 and you get them all on some kind of meal program, 2-1-1 for Texas, 3-1-1 for city, "hey, city hey is there any meal program around the greater Houston city you know area?" and make sure that even the school year, every 38:00family, they are aware that the school, please, if you don't have the means, if you just screen to yourself for eligibility, sign up for the meal program for your kids. So nobody ever educated us about food--the meal system program, and a lot of the times my mom would try to pack us lunch and it would just be the bare minimum, it would be like a sandwich and then, you know, maybe water. I remember once I forgot my lunch and I was really sad and they give me a peanut butter sandwich and they asked, "okay well dear, are you signed up for the meal program or?", and I said "I don't have money." [laugh] And that's when the school administrator decided to say "hey let's screen you for the meal program." My parents were like, "really? I can only pay 20 cents for a meal, really? versus the one dollar fifty or two dollars whatever back in the eighties?" and so that's why I feel like it's so critical, so important that these little information.


They do send the information home, my parents don't read English and our English was not--I didn't know this is actually for the meal program. We just threw it away. So information nowadays is always in English and Spanish but when your family don't read neither English or Spanish, then you just throw the information away and the kids don't have access to the food, so that is the other thing that aside from the health aspect, that we ourselves here at the clinic that we--we take pride in that we make sure the kids, the family are taken cared of as well.

XL: Okay, so uh why did you--your family decide to move here?

SC: Because we have actually, uh my mom's side of the family, they immigrated over here for higher education and um they had settled here I believe in the seventies. And um by then my parents wanted to change the life style and wan--wanted to take 40:00that leap and then move us from Taiwan over here for us to have better education. And I'm very proud of them and very uh very thankful that they actually took that leap because both my sister m--my sister, my brother and myself, our lives would be very different should we have stayed in Taiwan. Uh, my dad was a high school teacher um and my mom was working in a shipping, um import/export company, so I feel like we had more opportunity here in the US, we had um more, um we were able to kind of see a lot more, more global perspective of the world, shou--versus should we had remained in Taiwan, in a small island in Asia.

XL: Have you ever like think about going to America like when you are a kid?

SC: No, not really. Um I just remember my grandmother cause my grandmother and my aunts, and um they were the first to immigrate over here. I just remember my 41:00grandmother, my grandmother who kind of raise me and I was really attached to leaving. [imitates crying] I was really sad, um but America, the word itself is um in Chinese it means beautiful co--beautiful uh country, so of course back then, you're thinking "oh it must be wonderful. They must play cartoon 24/7!" This is like five-year-old thinking mentality um that "I turned on TV and there's always going to be cartoons". [laugh] Um so of course, you're thinking this wonderful, magical rainbow place, but when you come over here, because of the struggle that we first we have to go through, and not knowing how to speak English. One of my deepest memories that my--my siblings always tease me about, "what? You're still, you're still, you're still griping about that?" was the fact that um going into elementary school when I first moved over here. Um they used to have, they sell ice cream and um as a part of your snacks. You can buy cookies or 42:00ice cream. And um I--I had a quarter and I really want to buy some ice cream, so I walked up and I didn't know how to say--I didn't really know how to say anything in English.

And one of my classmate who is also Chinese was buying her, she--she came here earlier than I did. She has stronger English grasp, and um I stood there for the longest time and she was right in front of me and she bought a strawberry ice cream. And I really want a strawberry ice cream but I didn't know how to say "strawberry" and I was asking her can you help me and she was like no, you know I'm going to go eat. And so she told me a couple times, but the word "strawberry" for a little kid who has no English skills is hard to annunciate so I stood there for the longest time and I heard the word "chocolate" which sounds like 巧克力 ("chocolate" in Mandarin) in Mandarin, so I said 巧克力. And for end of the day, the only word I know how to say is chocolate and I am only--I was only able to 43:00buy chocolate ice cream. I don't have a, I don't have an ice cream dilemma right now, I don't, I promise you I still like chocolate. [laugh]

But I remember for kids struggling what they had--they feel to had to, what it mean--what it feels like to not know English and for little, little, little kids to have to face that. So um we definitely try to partner with our other community partners. First an foremost, uh we have organizations, some faith based, that have youth programs. Um, for a while, we had a little bit of resources and we worked with some of the elementary schools around here to provide them uh with maybe some behavior health assessments as well as maybe in the wintertime, other coats or shoes or some um hygienes. Or basically knowing that they won't have meals during the wintertime, give them a bag of like beans and rice and you know, non-perishables that they can 44:00take home and be able to sustain the family a little bit or themselves for a couple of weeks while the schools were out. Um so we kind of are a little bit more sensitive and observe for that, and most of our staff uh here, they were all immigrants and so they are very attuned to the needs of the people who reside around here and be able to kind of help us shape and um reach out to make a request.

AT: So I know you mentioned your uh language barrier and as well as uh the effect of having a foreign sounding name have on your employment, education prospects. Were there other factors of your experience as an immigrant that affected um-?

SC: Yes, so many of my uh my colleague and friends, they all pretty much those who are immigrants that has a Chinese name, or a foreign name. They all, growing up, 45:00not so much anymore. I mean we feel like it probably has not been as severe because there is a lot more diversity in Houston, especially the greater Houston, I'm sure it's--there's still a lot going on, but um the school, school system itself, they are trained through the year to be culturally sensitive. There is a lot of initiatives, partnering with APAHA, Asian Pacific American Heritage Association, partnering with different community leaders to create that bridge and in leadership, even with HISD, you have a diverse mix of uh people from all around the world serving on like people who are different races, serving on the board to kind of balance that out a little bit and uh create a little bit more of a cultural awareness including nowadays teaching uh teaching uh--teachers and teaching administrators.

Um back then, my recollection is if your name sounds foreign most likely you are going to be picked on, enough said, you know. And so how do you bypass that, so uh you--for me um, I would laugh it off, or basically defend myself, "my name doesn't sound 46:00funny, your name sounds funny", right? So it kind of trains kids to be, some kids themselves they are a little bit more resilient, some kids of course that's where when our program itself interven--intervention in the elementary school level. We go out there, we work with family, with the kids that are uh, you know, recent immigrants that are uh especially with ESL problems to make sure that um we address issues like bullying, we address issues such as anxiety at school and other issues in the home. And we're currently building another partnership with a um Lu-Lutheran no excuse me, United Methodist Church down the street to be able to kind of help um the family dynamic, um counseling for those who actually are here under high stress where culturally and maybe a 47:00little bit male dominant or because of uh certain scenario, there may be some uh anger or violence, domestic violence where the kids are also victims or they-they're really anxious, and they would go to um the after school programs or some of the activities feeling very anxious, uh and feeling very sad or other scenarios.

So first and foremost, you know, I'm sure majority of the parents, they all have good intentions, even the refugees bringing their kids over here. Um, the fact that with the current political climate, the job, being able to find a job if you are a recent immigrant, uh being able to kind of have that resources because they are scaling down on a lot of the refugee assistant resources, um that actually take an impact and toll on a lot of the families, a lot of the parents, and between--between that str--stress, of course it will have more um arguments and then there may be lead to 48:00other violence. And so the kids are usually kind of like the people who bear that burden as well and um we are hoping to kind of provide that kind of counseling and also bring in other partners to kind of bridge that as well. They are offering the kids ESL classes, they are talking to kids about bullying, but the thing is then what is actually done at the home once they leave the programs.

XL: Okay. So were you living at high like highly Asian neighborhood when you were a kid like when you first moved here?

SC: I--I think so. I think because my parents moved to places that are recommended by family friends, "hey, so and so lived around there, the neighborhood looks good, the neighborhood are excellent, whatever." So most the places I lived in have very multi-ethnic, um especially if you are talking about the Southwest area. 49:00My relative at that time, um had already moved um one was actually living in Sugar Land. And that was still very new, newly developed, not very acculturated, uh very just basically singular um set of uh race. Um so we--we, we, basi--my recollection of going to visit Sugar Land is like, "it's so different, it's so empty, it's so, it's so bare." You know, which is just so [inaudible] it's just, it's, it's, it's just so different from what I was used to with the different people, the different culture. Uh at that time, there was only like, maybe this was in the late-eighties, one supermarket here, maybe by this couple of restaurants and they even had a Chinese movie theater. I know believe it or not, there was a 50:00Chinese movie theater here. And then people from the community would go there and watch Chinese movies. And so um you know for that, for us, living close to the Southwest area, that is our community. We go to shop here. We go to you know eat at some of restaurants here. And some of the resources are a lot more um accepting, like for example libraries or the schools are a lot more accommodating because of the diversity. So um we couldn't image having to move out to further--further west um to sorry further yes west of Sugar Land where it was a lot more um stringent. Therefore, choosing neighborhoods and choosing places to live, it would just be word of mouth "who lives there?" "oh, how-how are the houses there?" "how's the neighborhoods there?" "how's the schools there?" So.

AT: So where and when did you go to college?


SC: So I went to UT and I went to, uh this was actually. I have to disclose my age? [laugh] This was in the nineties, late nineties, and um so college had been very interesting but I feel like for many of the young adults um at that time, a lot of the families had their mentality of what they want their kids to grow up to be. And a lot of times, um you hear the-the parents would will hear from each other that my child got into this and this Ivy League school and they are going to be, they're going to be doctors and lawyers and engineers, those are probably the only three careers you have to choose from. [laugh] So I feel like nowadays, with technology, and with uh the globalization, there is a lot more options for college students and there's a lot more programs in high schools allowing the kids to really, um especially STEM 52:00programs, a lot of the exploration of technology as well as globalization for people to kind of venture out and see. I'm interested in this and like you, like--like you guys, you are doing something you are passionate at and something also very needed, documenting and being--being able to showcase and tell story of very um, um population that normally others don't go and or hear about. And it would be kind of like a smaller isolated community, like for example a lot of the refugee families that we serve, be able to tell their story and be able to for people--other people who sees this to understand it and be able to say "oh, that's why they do things in certain way." So there is tolerance and acceptance. Um so I feel like um it was really funny because I didn't want to be in the health field and lo and behold after a long route of you know advertising marketing and also other not-for-profit, here 53:00I am. [laugh] Here I am in the health field. So, um usually I feel like there is a calling. Um there is a um probably um a reason why your route is taking you to the way you are supposed to be. And I feel like for a lot of the times for even a lot of staffs here, I want them to achieve more, I want them to do more, so even the people at the front desk, go back to school. You know, go to a nursing school, you guys are still young. Achieve more, become more, so you can do more for the community.

AT: So at UT, were you involved in the [coughs] sorry [coughs] sorry, um in the Asian American community there? Was there much of one?

SC: Well, the thing is that the friends you hang out with are generally pretty much Asian American. I don't think there was, there was a lot of just people that hang 54:00around that are not similar to you. But I feel like um it's not until I think when there is--now, now there are a lot of national initiatives and there's more kind of a call to action. Right? So for example, you know when I was involved with other organizations such as UCA, um there's--they're a civic engagement, political, uh you know, social advocacy group that we partnered with different institutions and organizations including Rice University and also University of Houston. You engage the students. You engage um the uh the uh Vietnamese Student Association group and you--you bring them out to take part in either um either uh civic, civic eng--voters' right, getting people out to the vote or um engage them um engage them in uh systems change, 55:00block walking for political candidates or um health advocacy, that's what we're--or better yet, educating them about the equality of the Asian Pacific, Native Hawaiian Pacific--Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander. But there's more initiatives now. There is more social media and platforms that you can actually utilize to get words out to engage college students to take part. Twitter, you know, Snapchat, um be part of Facebook movement, you know, be part of the form So back then I feel like most of the college students, unless you are officially in--pulled into the role with uh--uh with uh group, normally it you can be in church or whatever, but normally you don't have that much opportunity This is when we had cellphones that were like this big. And you--it's like a whole lot [laugh] of cell phone practically. And uh nowadays everything is smart. 56:00You have your smart--smartwatch. You have your smartphone. Everything is, there is WIFI at different um places in coffee shops. Opportunities for students to network and engage with each other to be a part of a ch--systems change are a lot more um available and being able to connect to other national, other student groups, other um Asian um Asian organizations, justice center or um social change or the other people of color, or you know, the ACL--ACLU. You have that opportunity. You have that resource. You have that communication bridge. Back then it was just a--we barely used, we barely used email. So.

XL: So did your parents give you a lot of pressure during like, like, like, you have to be a doctor or--?

SC: Um I think they--they want you to kinda be something great but they themselves don't know what greatness means. And they themselves, probably kinda communicate 57:00with the other parents and said "oh, so and so got to medical school" "oh, so and so are attorney and they're going to graduate from Harvard" [laugh] So I am sure for many Asian parents, they want their kids to achieve that bragging rights, "oh they got into so and so school" "oh they have so and so GPA" "they got so and so in their MCAT". They want, they want to have that bragging [laugh] right, too. But they don't know that you know what there are also ways you can be an entrepreneur, you can open up a restaurant, maybe the best, you know, most popular restaurant with chains all around the greater New York or um California, all up and down California. There's other ways of achieving greatness and there is also other ways of um of being a good, meaningful person in the community. So I never really imagined that um you know the route I took, working at the city, um you know 58:00volunteering my time, block walking, volunteering my time, making calls, you know, and helping the community out um would lead me to where I am today, but I think the first step is um people willing to make an impact and then wanting to actually say "you know what, my time would mean a difference if I could change one life. You know, that is still something." Right? And gradually, you will be able to--one person's way of volunteering the time for systems change can lead to a lot and you learn a lot about yourself as well. You also learn a lot about your community. Um I feel like um it's the--it's me going through, you know, getting up Saturday morning or you know being a--cause I was a pretty old counselor for the muscular dystrophy association since I was mid-twenties. Most the other counselors were all 59:00like high school or college kids and I was one of the oldest counselor that actually volunteered her time to take on a little sit(?) in a muscular dystrophy camp.

And so um volunteering your time you actually have a better idea of, of the people that you're serving and about yourself. You learn about patience. You learn about um the um your strength, your weaknesses and how to actually gradually grow to be a better human being. Um I, I really want to emphasize and I try to engage my son as well, I have a 9 year old. His name is Nicolas. I tried to offset that kind of mentality with him about kindness, about civic engagement, about um social responsibility. Um, starting by being a Boy Scout. You actually have certain um the um belief and ethics follow as Boy Scout. And then really introducing him to seeing you know people around here to be compassionate, um to be worldly, taking him to different places, 60:00seeing the you know, in fact, we wrote a letter to a congressman [inaudible] congressman about climate--climate concerns. And he wrote one letter himself which got response back and I wanted him to say "well, this is one of your ways you can actually share your voices, your--you know, project your voice, right to elected official, right to the president. They will respond to you. Good or bad response. Ok, some response will be like 'why do you even bother?' Um, but that is one way to get your voice heard and for them to understand you're here." And so that is what I want to instill to my child as well. And I am hoping that there is more young adults that we, we, as Asian American health correlation, and as a community clinic, want to engage too. That's why even here we have programs, we partner with University of Houston, College of Optometry and some medical and also health professional school to 61:00bring in students, so they can actually see the people that need to be served so they can have a better understanding when they become the healthcare professional, how to be a better caregiver, how to actually provide better integrated care that you as a optometrist, you communicate with primary provider and find ways to get around the language barrier.

We have a lot of providers that basically still does that today. Which is discrimination! You can actually get in trouble for discrimination. "Oh you don't speak English? Sorry, no, we can't see you." "Oh you didn't bring an interpreter? Oh no, no, no. We can't see you." And I would have to call to--the patient who really needs to be seen or needed to be X-rayed would not be seen and I would call them "you guys are taking Medicaid or Medicare, you guys cannot you--that's discrimination, you guys have to provide some kind of assistance. We called you, we told you they may need some interpretation." "Well, no, no, no. We're not gonna do that. 62:00That's too costly. We are not gonna do that." You know, so there still needs to be a lot of education, even among Asian providers, Asian American providers, but healthcare providers, that they themselves cannot discriminate. And so um we're working on really addressing some of those issues and um making sure our patients are accessing the care, the time and the care that they need.

XL: So uh how did your family preserve the Chinese culture in your home, in--in home?

SC: So I think there's different costumes that my parents are raised and that they practiced growing up that they still instilled to us, they practice as of today, um such as the Lunar New Year. Um certain foods and then the day before you would, you would get together and also maybe fifteen days after you would get together again. Um and I'm a big believer of that as well. Um I also try to you know celebrate it 63:00myself with my parents so that I can pass it on to my kid uh my child. Once I mean I send him to language school because I want him to learn Mandarin Chinese and he asked me "mommy, I am American. Why do I need to learn Chinese? I speak English." I said "no baby, you are Chinese American. No matter what. I don't care what you do [laugh]. What you do with your hair color, whatever going up. You are always going to be Chinese American 'cause momma is a Chinese American, daddy is a Chinese American, you are a Chinese American." So I want him to understand that's his roots and granted, you were born here and everything but don't forget that. You know, that's the language that your ancestors and your grandparents, your great-grandparents. It is the language that they speak. You need to also kinda embrace that yourself. I don't need you to speak perfect. I don't need you to be kind of like the professional historian of the Chinese culture and history of whatever happened in Qing Dynasty, Ming Dynasty. But I want you to be 64:00interested. This is where you come from.

XL: So uh just to wrap up. How do you see the change in Houston over these twenty years you have been here?

SC: So I, I have to say um I know there has been a lot of progression in the leadership of Houston Harris County have made opportunity to really celebrate and identify the different um the different culture that are um are here in Houston Harris County today and the different people who are immigrating over here and opportunities of investment into the city. So one of the things that I think over the year the city had made efforts for cross uh cross-city exchanges where the mayor or basically leadership from Beijing, China or other parts of the world would come and be um be 65:00able to kinda see greater Houston and some of our leadership will go over and actually see the city themselves and so there is a cross um cross-continent even relationship and also being able to discuss ways of opening up trade, opening up um business, um exchange opportunities and immigration. So um I think we have the greatest medical center, maybe in US, maybe in the world. You have wonderful, wonderful advanced technology and what not, but the thing it's all also thanks to the opportunity that they invite medical professionals, researchers from all over the world to come, come and do the fellowship here to learn about practicing medicine. So I know there are actually medical uh physicians from China and Europe or whatever coming here to learn about cancer or also be able to contribute their knowledge to research and be able to take some of it back or 66:00share with our local institutions some other knowledge as well. Um, that actually contribute to greatness. Um I feel like there is still a long way to go because when you are talking about um the immigrants and refugees, if the fact that just the state of Texas, I mean Houston has made significant progress and significant tolerance even to the LGBT population. So if you're talking about a state that basically is against immigrants and is uh reverting back to "Oh, well, uh we don't uh tolerate uh the undocumented. We don't uh we don't uh want to have sanctuary cities or facilities, that we're gonna be penalizing and punishing." That's not what America is about. That's not what the forefather and also the many years of 67:00instilling these different rights and bills or whatnot, just so that we are going backwards. I feel hopeful, um because first and foremost, it is a democratic uh country. We ourselves, you as young leaders have the right to vote. If you basically feel like "You know, I'm just one vote, it doesn't matter", no it does. And so I feel like if we were able to engage enough people, engage enough um angry people even, that the system can be changed. It has a way to be changed. So um Houston itself, um I am very proud of Houstonian, but I am hoping we can

actually gradually do more for the state of Texas.