My mother is the personification of generosity. She was a single mom who raised two children on her own, and is the definition of a caretaker. She instilled in me that sense of duty to help the sick and the less fortunate, but also to remember that everyone is deserving of care and generosity. So I take those lessons with me when I care for my patients. It isn’t just about the science of medicine or treating the diseases, but the intangible aspect of being a physician. To this day, she’s my check. Whenever the job gets hard or something wears on my ability to be empathetic or sympathetic, I look at my mother and how she performs these generous acts with such ease and grace — and that recharges me and reminds me of why I became a doctor.
I also have a really special connection with my great-uncle, who is the only other physician in my family. He was a respected cardiologist in Guangzhou, China, and retired in 2005 after an incredible career. Growing up I remember he had this air — kind, intelligent, and always poised and respected. As I progressed through the different stages of my career in academic medicine, I found my bond with him growing stronger as I came to appreciate what it took to have as illustrious a career in academic medicine as he did. He has become the model of the kind of physician, researcher, and academic professor that I would like to be in my career. His lifelong passion for medicine continues to inspire me.
—Dr. Eva Cheung
Section Chief of Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care and Medical Director of Pediatric ECMO, NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons