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Be Your Authentic Self: Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month

Harbin Clinic is proud to continue its “Be Your Authentic Self” series by celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Asian and Pacific Islanders originate from all the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia and Polynesia. 

The purpose of this month is to celebrate Asian and Pacific Islanders’ culture and heritage, and we believe it’s important to honor their impact on our communities and country by learning more about their cultures. 

When we bring our authentic selves to work, we connect with others in a genuine way that boosts engagement, productivity and enhances our colleagues’ ability to care completely for one another and, most importantly, our patients.

To build on the series, we’re celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with some of our employees’ personal stories about their heritage and culture. We began our conversations by asking them a couple of questions: How does your heritage contribute to the person you are today? And, what’s something you appreciate most about your culture? 

Dilawar Khan, MD

My Pakistani heritage has shaped me into the man I am today. Throughout my life in Pakistan, I learned the values of resilience and diligence. These two qualities were extremely important to remember during my journey into medicine, and I believe success is dependent on harboring these values. Additionally, I attribute my family-centered lifestyle to my heritage because family is always the number one priority in South Asian cultures. There are numerous aspects of Pakistani culture that I appreciate. I admire how friendly and lively Pakistani’s are. Even in the most challenging times, they seem to enjoy life still. When thinking of my heritage, a quote by John Lennon comes to mind: “When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” Overall, Pakistan is a beautiful melting pot of Indian, Persian, Central Asian, South Asian, and Western Asian influences; I am excited to see that same aura when I migrated to the US in 1992. To this day, having the privilege to see different cultures has broadened my understanding that we share so many common traits regardless of our background. Because of all of this, I believe it has helped me to be more humane and compassionate. 

Caralyne Jahns, Opthalmic Assistant

My heritage contributes to the person I am today by instilling a solid work ethic and unconditional respect for my elders. My father has always taught me to try my absolute best at whatever I decide to do in this lifetime. He has shown me through his actions that hard work will always pay off in the end. Lastly, he ensured that I always respect those older than me, regardless of who they are and what they do. 

Something that I appreciate most about my culture is the food. Asian food will always hold a special place in my heart. 

Digant V Bhatt, MD

My heritage has strongly influenced and contributed to the person I am today. Growing up, my parents instilled a sense of family and respect for others in me and my siblings. Because of this, I can better serve and connect with my patients and colleagues sincerely and authentically. Furthermore, it taught me the importance of effective communication, quality time, appreciation, and the value of teamwork. Since my culture is very diverse, I appreciate how my spirituality helps me remain focused and calm, no matter what I experience or encounter. The attributes of reverence and kindness, learned from my upbringing and culture to this day, continue to lead and guide me. 

Caroline Yaphockun, MD

The value of hard work has been ingrained in me since I was a young child.  Not only did my parents exemplify this, but the Filipino-Chinese community showed me how far you could go if you remain focused and dedicated. My parents have stressed the importance of education, whether within the four walls of a classroom or outside of school.  Because so many may not have the same opportunities as others, my siblings and I did not take it for granted. One thing I appreciate about my culture is how a tight-knit family unit is important. From birth to adult life, whether near or far, we support and encourage each other.  When we bring our families together for celebrations, there is a lot of food and fun. Enjoying one another and connecting through cuisine is something I truly value. 

Published May 5, 2021

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