From Immigrant Roots to Aspiring Pediatrician | AANHPI Heritage Month
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Healing Across Cultures 
AANHPI Heritage Month

May 30, 2024
Photograph of PCOM student Wei Ngai

Wei Ngai’s (MS/BioMed ’24) love for her culture comes from her parents, who both immigrated to the United States from Hong Kong and Vietnam in their late teens.

“That's really given me a unique insight into the Asian immigrant experience, and that's part of the reason why I really identify with the diversity aspect of education,” she shared.

“I'm a first-generation student and the first in my family to pursue this path into health care. I'm just so thankful for all the support my parents have given me.”

Ngai hopes to one day become a primary care physician specializing in pediatrics.

Wei and her family during her undergraduate commencement ceremony

“Just like how I was a young patient at one point, I really want to be able to guide these young patients as they grow up,” she said. “I want to help them develop healthy living habits and be a source of stability and mentorship, just like my doctor was for me.”

A proud member of the Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community, Ngai aims to make a difference for patients from all backgrounds, with a special focus on those from her own heritage.

“Within the AANHPI community, it's a well-known thing that parents love for their kids to become doctors, yet there is a huge hesitancy to go to the doctor,” she said.

Wei with members of the PCOM Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA) Chapter

“Hopefully, as a member of the community and a future physician, I can work to bridge this gap between the language barriers and distrust in the medical system and create more open dialogue to find a common ground between these two populations with different views.”

As Co-President of PCOM’s chapter of the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA), Ngai is continuing the diversity work she began at her undergraduate institution.

“Coming to PCOM, and especially knowing that it's an institution that really values diversity, I wanted to continue doing that kind of work here,” she said.

“[APAMSA] wants to celebrate our identity and continue creating space for not only members of the AANHPI community but also others in the student body to come together and learn more about our culture.”

The PCOM Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA) Chapter aims to educate and advocate for AAPI healthcare issues, support Asian American Pacific Islander PCOM students, and connect with Philly's Asian community. The organization’s events are open to all, and everyone is encouraged to join their community. Those interested may reach out to with any questions, or follow them on Instagram at @pcomapamsa.


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For the past 125 years, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) has trained thousands of highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists who practice a “whole person” approach to care—treating people, not just symptoms. PCOM, a private, not-for-profit accredited institution of higher education, operates three campuses (PCOM, PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia) and offers doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, educational psychology, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy, and school psychology. The college also offers graduate degrees in applied behavior analysis, applied positive psychology, biomedical sciences, forensic medicine, medical laboratory science, mental health counseling, physician assistant studies, and school psychology. PCOM students learn the importance of health promotion, research, education and service to the community. Through its community-based Healthcare Centers, PCOM provides care to medically underserved populations. For more information, visit or call 215-871-6100.

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