In the second part of this two part series, we discuss the intersectionality of what it's like to be an Asian American male physician, leader, mentor, and some of the joys and challenges involved in getting there, such as the model minority myth, the glass and bamboo ceilings, and cultural stereotypes and biases.
[0:00-03:08] - Introductions
- Dr. Tammy Lin and Dr.Tiffany Leung introduce today’s The DEI Shift topic on the intersectionality of what it's like to be an Asian American male physician + leader + mentor, and some of the joys and challenges involved in getting there, such as the model minority myth, bamboo ceilings, and cultural stereotypes and bias.
- Introducing Dr. Dobbin Chow
- Internal Medicine Program Director and Chair of Medicine at the University of Maryland Medical Center, Midtown Campus
- Introducing Dr. Steven Chan
- Psychiatrist and Clinical Informatician who launched his own blog on mental productivity for stressed and anxious professionals: https://mentalpowerhacks.com/
[03:09-07:55] - "Be the Change" segment
- Tiffany introduces the “Be the Change” segment: when did you know that you had to not only excel in everything you did but also step forward in the change you want to see?
- Dr. Chow talks about his experiences as a medical student. He was reserved and there was a hierarchy and culture in internal medicine that made him discouraged. Took sentiments to heart, and does not not rank students based on personality or cultural values
- Dr. Chan describes how when he was in college he was shy and did what he was told to. Followed Asian cultural values of “getting along and putting your head down” throughout business and medical school. In residency, he started to grow by forming his own self-identity and learned how to get things done by making his own opportunities. Also, he learned to step forward when dealing with family issues and learning that life is precious and to be a leader.
[08:32-14:25] - Tammy asks about challenges and what people don’t see in Dr. Chow’s and Dr. Chan’s journeys and accomplishments
- Dr. Chow realized that looking back many of his actions were based on growing up in an Asian culture. In the hospital he worked at, productivity was the most important priority in developing his clinical practice. He put the advancement of his own career below the development of the organization, so he couldn’t spend time teaching and mentoring students. His challenge was to find the balance between pursuing teaching/mentoring and his own career goals and the good of the organization
- When asked what where some things that allowed him to help make changes to have more time to teach/mentor, Dr. Chow responds saying he thought he was content, but got a job offer to become a Program Director that was perfect for him. The hospital questioned him: “why would you want to do that?” - which made him realize hospitals did not have the best interests in mind for him and for the advancement for professional growth. When he went to the new hospital, he was encouraged to get an MBA.
[14:40-16:48] - Dr. Chan gives his insight on challenges he’s faced
- Had to learn how to get rid of “FOMO”- Fear of Missing Out. He felt like a doormat and would keep on taking on roles to appease people. Had to learn how to say no and not be a people pleaser.
- Trying to find a balance to learn to work hard and challenge himself without sacrificing his mental health.
[16:48-25:05] - Tiffany discusses the perception that Asians are over-represented in medicine and higher education.
- Asian Americans are the least likely to get leadership roles so they are stuck in the “middle”, making them hit the “bamboo ceiling.” Tiffany asks why Asians and Asian Americans don’t reach these leadership positions?
- Dr. Chan mentions an article looking at Silicon Valley Management data that proves that Asian Americans are the least likely to be in leadership roles.
- Model minority factor leads people to believe that they are quite numerous, so they don’t need to be represented in leadership.
- Heterogeneity and sub-groups in the Asian ethnicity have their own income.
- Among the Hmong/Laotian population 35-40% don’t finish high school: For younger Cambodian Americans, a narrowing education gap
- Pacific Islanders have the highest share of long term unemployment among ethnic groups. Why Disaggregate? AAPI Unemployment and Poverty
- Heterogeneity and sub-groups in the Asian ethnicity have their own income.
- Question of whether if Asian Americans are fit for leadership
- In Hollywood, Asian American men are viewed as “not masculine” and “geeky”. Asian American Men in Romantic Dating Markets
- Dr. Chow explains how being from the East Coast, there was a lack of Asian Americans in medical school. Explains how the people that would get attention were the “fraternity guys”-- charismatic and articulate that allowed them social mobility, which got them promoted. People viewed Asians as being “company people”-- worked hard and kept the status quo.
[25:05-31:45] - Tammy mentions a study that Asians were viewed as more technically competent, but not as leaders leading to cultural stereotype threat.
- Dr. Chow looked at leadership as something “that they have that I don’t”. Looked internally to improve himself, but through taking MBA courses he found out that they didn’t teach leadership. Ended up doing a term project on leadership, finding out that leadership is a skill you develop, not something genetic.
- Tammy discusses how Dr. Chow emerged as a quieter leader, but equally powerful.
- Dr. Chan discusses how there is positive reinforcement by being a “model minority”, which makes it harder for people to want to grow.
[31:45-38:13] - Tiffany discusses well-being, and how the drive to balance personal achievement and what we need is challenging.
- Tiffany asks whether stereotypes and concepts previously discussed play a role in the well-being of Asian American physicians?
- Dr. Chan believes that there is an expectation from society that one internalizes. Must recognize that you have a certain skewed mindset.
- Personally recounts his mom questioning his choice of specializing in Psychiatry
- Having good mentors and opportunities to learn can help with this
- Tiffany relates to this, in regards to pursuing specialities based on prestige
- Dr. Chow says there’s a work ethic that Asian Americans have that still exists, but we are looking for markers and measures to let us know that we’re still “achieving.” Different mindset, values, and goals for professional life. Can work to the detriment of Asian Americans, who may need to reset priorities and goals.
[38:13-42:10] - Tammy asks what are some relevant practical points for the audience to take away.
- Dr. Chow advices to nurture professional friendships and be proactive in seeking mentorship relationships.
- Dr. Chan advises to never stop finding answers and if you feel that you’re not satisfied, look at other industries (as an example: Dr. Chan recommends LinkedinLearning) for leadership guidance and how to diffuse problems.
[42:10-44:36] - Calls to Action
- Dr. Chow: We are all on a journey, and we need to be proud of our unique identity no matter where we are on our journey.
- Dr. Chan: Never stop learning through different resources-- mentorship, travel etc… Feel free to reach out.
[44:36-45:48] - Conclusion
- Check out companion podcast: "At the Intersection of Asian + American + Female + Physician + Leader "
- Special shout out to mentors, sponsors, advocates, and allies of Pan-Asian physicians
- Social media handles: @thedeishift
- Email: @firstname.lastname@example.org
[45:49] - Outro
Co-hosts/Producers: Dr. Tammy Lin, Dr. Tiffany Leung
Executive Producer: Dr. Tammy Lin
Co-Executive Producers: Dr. Pooja Jaeel, Dr. Tiffany Leung
Senior Producer: Dr. DJ Gaines
Assistant Producer: Deepti Yechuri
Editors: Tammy Lin, Deepti Yechuri
Production Assistant: Sanika Walimbe
Website/Art design: Ann Truong
Music: Chris Dingman