Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Introduction to Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. This month is a celebration of the culture, traditions, and history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. The month of May was chosen to commemorate the first Japanese immigration to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

Sparrow Health System celebrates and recognizes the contributions of our Asian American and Pacific Islander Caregivers, Patients, and Community members who have made tremendous contributions to medical science and innovation.

Dr. Anandi Gopal Joshi
The first Hindu and first Indian female doctor to receive a medical degree in the United States
Dr. Anandi Gopal Joshi

Dr. Anandi Gopal Joshi, born in India, was the first Hindu and first Indian female doctor to receive a medical degree in the United States, graduating at 20 years old in 1886.

» Visit Dr. Joshi's Wikipedia Page
Dr. Min Chueh Chang
Developed the birth control pill and was a pioneer of in vitro fertilization
Dr. Min Chueh Chang

Dr. Min Chueh Chang, born in Taiyuan, China, helped develop the birth control pill and was a pioneer of in vitro fertilization who paved the way for the birth of “test-tube babies.”

» Visit Dr. Chang's Wikipedia Page
Dr. David Ho
Developed foundational research for the modern “cocktail” antiretroviral therapy
Dr. David Ho

Dr. David Ho, a Taiwanese American physician, developed foundational research for the modern “cocktail” antiretroviral therapy, of which Dr. Ho was an early champion.

» Visit Dr. Ho's Wikipedia Page
Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga
Recognized for work leading to the “functional cure” of an HIV positive infant
Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga

Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga, a Filipino-American physician and pediatric immunologist, who, in conjunction with Johns Hopkins virologist Deborah Persaud, was recognized for work leading to the “functional cure” of an HIV positive infant.

» Read more about Dr. Luzuriaga's candidacy to lead the FDA
KhangHy Nguyen, DO with his father and sister
General Surgeon with Sparrow Medical Group General Surgery

KhangHy Nguyen, D.O. 

One of my earliest memories as a child was waiting in line for soup with my dad at a refugee camp in Thailand. My family and I were in the middle of our journey to America.

Several years after the end of the Vietnam war, my father was finally released from a communist re-education prison. He served as a medical officer in the South Vietnamese army during the war. As all immigrants, our family journeyed to America for a better life. My parents traveled with two toddlers and another one on the way. We were fortunate to end up in Chicago surrounded by some family support.

My mom was the bread winner for many years as a seamstress, while my dad pursued his studies and eventually graduated from Michigan State College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his family practice residency at Sparrow in 1994.  He took care of patients in the Greater Lansing area for over 25 years.

Sharing our father’s enthusiasm and passion for medicine and service, one of my younger sisters and I followed his footsteps into a career in medicine. We both are also proud graduates of Michigan State, while my younger sister pursued internal medicine, I endeavored into general surgery. I also chose to join the United States Air Force to serve my country, as my father did. I completed two deployments to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and had the privilege of taking care of our injured service men and women.

I am happy to be back home and to be able to serve our Mid-Michigan community. I’ve come a long way from that little boy in that soup line, starting out with not much but a work ethic and desire for service that I learned from my parents. I’ve also been fortunate to have had many great mentors and teachers from the Michigan State and Sparrow family, and I am appreciative to be in a position to help and mentor others as well.

Ruimei Ma Director of Medical Physics
Director of Medical Physics at Sparrow Health System

Ruimei Ma, Ph.D

After receiving my PhD in nuclear physics from Stony Brook University, I spent 10 years working on medical applications of high precision neutron activation and on a Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT) clinical trial for glioblastoma multiform at the Brookhaven National Laboratory. The experience on BNCT led me to become a certified medical physicist specialized in radiation therapy.

I spent the next 14 years working as the chief medical physicist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center at Suffolk-Commack.

I joined Sparrow in 2016 and became the director of medical physics in 2019. At the Herbert-Herman Cancer Center, the physics team works closely with the team of radiation oncology to provide accurate radiation treatments for our cancer patients.

I enjoy playing tennis, volleyball and badminton when I can. It is the best way for me to de-stress.