Influential Asian American And Pacific Islander Physicians

Here are 5 influential Asian and Pacific American physicians who made incredible contributions to medicine in the US.

In celebration of AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Heritage Month, we’re highlighting 5 influential Asian and Pacific American physicians who made incredible contributions to medicine in the US. As a proud leader in educating future generations of Asian American and Pacific Islander physicians in the US, Sketchy would like to honor the contributions that Asian and Pacific Americans physicians have made and will continue to make in the medical community. 

Min Chueh Chang, PhD

Dr. Min Chueh Chang (張明覺) was a Chinese-American reproductive biologist from the Shanxi province in China. He was best known for his development of what we now know as the birth control pill at the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology. 

Dr. Chang was a medical pioneer specializing in fertilization. Throughout his career, he has made influential contributions and findings in the field of fertilization. Beside the birth control pill, he also worked on in vitro fertilization (IVF) which is now a popular and trusted infertility treatment. 

David Ho, MD

Dr. David D. Ho (何大一) is a Taiwanese-American physician and researcher whose work significantly impacted our understanding of HIV/AIDS and how to treat it.

It was as an internal medicine resident at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center that Dr. Ho first encountered a patient exhibiting symptoms for a mysterious illness that would later be known as HIV. Dr. Ho then became engaged in HIV/AIDS research. initially focusing on clinical virology and select topics in HIV pathogenesis.

In the mid 1990s Dr. Ho and his team of researchers discovered that a combination of drugs was effective in treating HIV/AIDS early in diagnosis and slowed the disease progression. This pioneering effort was the turning point in the epidemic that turned HIV/AIDS from an automatic death sentence into a manageable disease.

Since this breakthrough, Dr. Ho and his lab continues their research and searches for ways to prevent the transmission of HIV, while also researching potential vaccines for HIV. 

Anandi Gopal Joshi, MD

Dr. Anandi Gopal Joshi was the first female physician of Indian origin to earn a Western medical degree and is an influential force in advancing medical science in India. Dr. Joshi attended the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania at the age of nineteen and persisted to complete her MD even when suffering Tuberculosis. Her determination came from the age of fourteen where she gave birth to a baby boy but the child did not make it past 10 days old due to the lack of medical care in India. This was a turning point for Dr. Joshi to pursue medicine and improve medical care in her home country. 

Margaret Chung, MD

Dr Margaret Chung was the first known American-born Chinese female physician. After graduating from the University of Southern California Medical School in 1916 and completing her internship and residency in Illinois, she established one of the first Western medical clinics in San Francisco's Chinatown in the early 1920s. ​​When Japan invaded China in 1937, Chung volunteered as a front-line surgeon, but she was secretly assigned instead to recruit pilots for the 1st American Volunteer Group, better known as the "Flying Tigers." During the war, Chung would serve up to 175 people at Thanksgiving at her house and wrapped and addressed 4,000 gifts at Christmas, making her a national celebrity.

Katherine Luzuriaga, MD

Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga is a renowned physician-scientist known for her research and contributions in understanding how the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Epstein Barr virus (EBV), establish persistent viral infections in children. Dr. Luzuriaga received her masters from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and her medical degree specializing in Pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine. She plays an active role in the medical community as a professor, director, and Vice Provost of significant medical institutions like University of Massachusetts Center for Clinical and Translational Science (UMCCTS).

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