Many of our fellow providers share a common thread and passion to serve the community in Lower Manhattan and Flushing. We have doctors who grew up in the neighborhood and providers who understand how to care for a large number of Chinese-speaking patients we see every day. Many of our providers are knowledgeable about the cultural practices and implications that can influence one’s health. They work closely with patients so they can navigate the health care system, understand their health, and receive the appropriate care and support services.
This Doctors’ Day, the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center is proud to recognize the committed work of our doctors. Here, we meet a couple of providers who have been integral to the growing success of our patient care:
Mei Wong, DO, Pediatrics Department
Dr. Mei Wong grew up in Chinatown and went to school in the area: P.S. 130 and M.S. 131. “I wanted to come back to the community,” she says. Dr. Wong joined the Health Center in 1992 with a loving emphasis on working with kids and the family dynamic to care for the patient.
“There are a lot of pediatricians wherever you go, but a lot of times, new immigrants don’t have the opportunity to access those pediatricians or the opportunity to know the system. What’s great about working here is that it’s not just a solo practice. You interact with other providers, nursing staff, and social workers.” As a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), the Health Center ensures that our patients get access to support services such as health education, mental health counseling, and social work assistance. Working as part of a supportive health care team, our providers are able to focus on what they do best.
“We worry about the patient, but we know other professionals at the Health Center are also helping them. I find that here, it’s very unique in that we have all the support to help me do what I can do for the patient.”
Shirley Egielski, DDS, Dental Department
“My goal is to help people and provide for the community. That’s why I went into the medical field. The Health Center provided that opportunity,” says Dr. Shirley Egielski, who joined the dental team in 1996. The Health Center provided Dr. Egielski with the resources to improve her practice as a dentist and develop the expertise to understand and be more sensitive to patients’ needs.
What Dr. Egielski enjoys the most is watching her patients grow up and seeing her treatments improve the quality of life for her patients. “Patients who were toddlers are now finishing their last year in college. For me, the best part about being a provider is when my patients say ‘I’m happy’ or ‘I am able to eat again with my dentures.’”
Jie Ying Shen, MD, Pediatrics Department
“I chose to be a pediatrician because I love kids and it’s the only specialty I am interested in,” says Dr. Jie Ying Shen. Coming from a family of doctors, Dr. Shen came to the Health Center in 1996 because she speaks Chinese and is skillful at caring for the Chinese population. “I moved here from Boston to do my residency at New York University. New York City is a multicultural opportunity. Over the years I’ve seen the whole system at the Health Center go through a lot of changes. We are providing more service to the community and the community recognizes that.”
Like many physicians at the Health Center, Dr. Shen enjoys being a part of her patients’ journey as they become adults and working professionals. “I see my patients grow into adults and it gives me satisfaction. I also see a lot of the second generation. Many patients actually become employees in the Health Center.”
Holly Lee, FNP, Clinical Director, Internal Medicine Department
“I became a nurse practitioner because I wanted to learn more and provide a higher level of service,” says Holly Lee, family nurse practitioner. Ms. Lee went straight to nursing school after finishing high school because she was intrigued by the science. She joined the Health Center in 1998.
“People get the impression that nurses only work bedside. But I’ve found that nursing is very versatile. You can work in home care, offices, hospitals… you can always find new and stimulating positions and being a nurse practitioner has enhanced that.” At the Health Center, having a nurse practitioner (NP) on our team means more high-quality and individualized care for our patients. A nurse practitioner has more advanced education and clinical training than a registered nurse. NPs are licensed by New York State to diagnose, treat and manage common and chronic illnesses, and prescribe medicine. They can serve as a patient’s regular provider.
“In primary care, you establish a relationship and rapport with the patient. I meet with the family and get to see different generations. I support the patients through talking and spending time with them. As an NP, I have the autonomy of being able to practice with colleagues who respect you. We work as a team with physicians, take part in preventive services, and health education.”
Pearl Tung, CNM, Ob/Gyn Department
“The experience at the Health Center has been wonderful. Everyone is very well supported, works very well and fast, and care about what they are doing,” says Pearl Tung, certified nurse midwife (CNM).
Ms. Tung studied journalism and gender and sexuality prior to becoming a certified nurse midwife. She became interested in midwifery through an internship at Choices in Childbirth, an organization that helped expecting parents make an informed decision about where and how they give birth. After learning about their holistic approach to childbirth, Ms. Tung decided to pursue a Master’s and Bachelor’s degree from Columbia University School of Nursing. CNMs provide expert skill in natural deliveries and offer extensive labor support.
Working at the Health Center since 2012, Ms. Tung has worked with numerous of patients and is experienced with meeting their needs. “I encounter many interesting cases because people are coming from everywhere. They know the Health Center is a perfect place to get their care because we offer a holistic practice.” Ms. Tung also recalled delivering the same patient’s babies twice. “She looked for me,” Ms. Tung said.
Every day, the Health Center is dedicated to providing the highest quality of care to individuals and families who walk through our doors. As an FQHC, the Health Center provides comprehensive primary health care services such as internal medicine, pediatrics, Ob/Gyn, dental and mental health. We see everyone regardless of their income, the language they speak or immigration history. To learn more about our providers and services, please visit www.cbwchc.org.
Written by Bonnie Tse
Bonnie Tse is the communications coordinator at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center. She has a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and food science from Hunter College.