Weon Hee Kang, Nurse Practitioner, Cardiology, NSUH
Tell us more about your role at Northwell Health.
In 1995 I started at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH) as a registered nurse and in 2005 I became a nurse practitioner in Cardiology.
Why did you join the Asian BERG?
I wanted to actively support my community. Many Asian community members want to come to Northwell Health for its great reputation, but due to the cultural and language barriers it may be difficult for them to navigate our facilities. My contribution to close this cultural gap was to be a part of the committee that introduced the Korean seaweed soup (miyuk gook) for mothers who just gave birth at NSUH. In 2008 I started a free monthly health clinic for the Korean community and have continued my efforts to keep the clinic going since then.
Can you tell us more about the Korean health clinic?
Through my years at NSUH, I observed numerous Korean patients being admitted to the hospital due to the lack of healthcare either because they couldn’t afford it or because they didn’t know how to obtain it. Patients would have very serious conditions but did not have a primary doctor, medical or prescription insurance to recuperate and maintain their health. Various professionals such as physicians, nurses, social workers, physical therapists and acupuncturists, volunteered to provide preventive medical services monthly and our team was formed. Since the start of this program, 2,000 patients have been cared for with various conditions, some critical such as abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, breast cancer, unstable angina, laryngeal cancer, hypertensive emergencies and others. The social workers assisted patients in signing up for Medicare/Medicaid and our team helped coordinate care for further medical treatment and follow up.
What is your advice for others?
We need to care for our families and neighbors. No one can live alone. We need to volunteer our time, support each other’s ideas and use our professional skillsets to help the community become healthier. Many Asian Americans want to help their families and community and can do so in this way. Furthermore, many employees may not know about the BERG, which helps us internally network and externally bridge with communities.