Ignite Magazine | Spring 2021

Page 17


A NEOMED student and University administrator teamed up on a San Franciscobased initiative to coordinate COVID-19 response by emergency departments.



f you see an opportunity, seize it. If Gordon Hong had a mantra, that might be it. As the second-year College of Medicine student was growing up in a white suburban Cleveland neighborhood, Hong’s father and mother — immigrants who moved to the U.S in the ’70s from Vietnam and China, respectively — expected him to excel academically and to help out at their family restaurant. If it sounds like a model minority stereotype, that’s about right, he said at a Lunar New Year story slam hosted by NEOMED’s Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association. What can often be left out of the stereotype are the microaggressions faced by

Asian-Americans and their search for a sense of identity, Hong explained. As an undergraduate at Emory University in Atlanta, where he spent an additional year doing clinical research, Hong began finding his place in the world and in medicine. Today, he looks for ways that he and others will be able to make a bigger impact, beyond individual patient encounters. During his first year at NEOMED, Hong took over the helm of the Committee for Student Clinical Research. This year, he’s the co-president of that student organization, along with student Keval Yerigeri, who is taking a research year at the National Institutes of Health. The

University has a tradition of holding an annual poster day, when students interact with interested passers-by to explain and entertain questions about their work, which is supported in large part by the University’s annual Summer Research Fellowships. When it became clear that the usual poster day event couldn’t be held, due to continued COVID-19 health concerns, Hong got involved in planning an online version, called the Student Research Symposium. Complete with student hosts and breakout rooms for presentations, that version attracted 88 student posters and a buzz of comments and questions online. Last spring, looking around to learn more about clinical specialties, Hong heard