Evan Liu’s Reflection on Shadowing Experience with Dr. Ming Chen

As an aspiring pre-medical student at Duke University, I have always been interested in

the healthcare industry and learning more about how these professionals do their jobs.

Furthermore, the field of ophthalmology fascinated me as my family has a history of bad

eyesight and I wanted to know more about how our eyes work and how doctors help patients

maintain this essential ability. Going home for winter break, I was fortunate to have the

opportunity to shadow Dr. Ming Chen, a family friend, on December 21 and January 4.

Dr. Chen, a decorated professor at the University of Hawaii’s John A. Burns School of

Medicine and past president of the Hawaii Ophthalmological Society, has decades of experience

practicing medicine and specializes in cataract and refractive surgery. Dr. Chen’s mastery of his

profession and command of his clinic is evident, as he sees patients in a very efficient and

organized manner. Utilizing both an electronic and physical system of medical recording and

note-taking, Dr. Chen is able to save information on his computer for future use, quickly record

notes, and present patients with a tangible copy of the visit’s summary and plan for future

appointments. In addition, Dr. Chen has a button which plays a tune when pressed, a tool for a

straightforward method of informing his staff that he is ready for the next patient. Whether the

patient came in for a routine check-up, cataract surgery follow-up, or because of discomfort, Dr.

Chen always had a clear plan for the appointment and calmly addressed the issues brought up in

the conversations. One line Dr. Chen said to a patient held particular meaning to me. When

informing a patient that she would need cataract surgery, Dr. Chen reasoned that “without sight,

there is no more life, so [we] need to help [the patient].” I believe this quote exemplifies Dr.

Chen’s passion for his work and care for his patients.

Dr. Chen also displayed his recognition of the importance of helping his patients feel

understood and listened to, as he would turn his body toward his patients, away from his

computer screen, whenever they were speaking or he had something to say to them. Moreover,

Dr. Chen sat on a chair, eye-level with his patients, eliminating physical and metaphorical power

imbalances. This body language allowed Dr. Chen to make his patients feel more welcomed and

cared for. Furthermore, Dr. Chen’s soothing tone of voice, ability to speak multiple languages

fluently, moderate pace of speech, and knack of describing medical terms and procedures with

simple language and gestures helped enhance his patients’ healthcare experience.

This experience shadowing Dr. Chen helped me understand more about the field of

ophthalmology, from the equipment and procedures involved in this profession to the typical

structure of a patient’s appointment. After observing Dr. Chen in his clinic, I am even more

inspired to become a doctor, as I also hope to alleviate pain and bring reassurance to others. I am

immensely thankful for this opportunity and will always remember what I learned from Dr. Chen

along my journey.

A Tale of Two Cities' 20 Year Friendship

Dr. Chen was featured in an article titled "A Tale of Two Cities' 20 Year Friendship" by newsgd.com, a prominent online source of news in Guangdong, China.

For the full article, click here: http://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/7GwdHXyBCklcqSvKJ3uBgg


Excerpt from the article:

In 1993, Chen Ming, whose ancestral home is in Fujian Province, became involved with the Chung Shan Association in the United States and paid his first visit to Zhongshan. When he visited Zhongshan City People’s Hospital’s ophthalmology department, he was shocked by the shabby medical equipment at that time. He promised, “I will try my best to help Zhongshan City People’s Hospital to catch up with the advanced level in ophthalmology and equipment in the US.”

Since then, Chen Ming has visited Zhongshan every year, instructing on eye treatment technology and treating patients for free. He donated ophthalmic medical equipment valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars to Zhongshan City People's Hospital, and was praised by Zhongshan people as ‘bright messenger’. 

Now he is a fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a professor at Queen's Medical Center, Honolulu, Hawaii, a consultant and a visiting professor of ophthalmology at Zhongshan City People's Hospital. He was awarded the title ‘Honorary Citizen’ of Zhongshan in 2013.

Because of him, Zhongshan City People's Hospital has made tremendous progress in medical care, its ophthalmic treatment technology in particular is now close to the current most advanced standards.

Furthermore, Chen Ming also helped a great lot in a transnational rescue between the two cities.

Note from Dr. Maile Miki

Dr. Chen,

Thank you so much for allowing me to observe you this past Thursday morning. It was a great experience learning more about you as a skilled clinician, your established clinic, and the unique patient base that you serve.

I enjoyed observing the interactions you had with your patients, and how you addressed their needs and concerns. Just from that short time, you have taught me how important it is to care for the patient and their well being as a whole - not just their eyes. It is evident that you take pride in helping others, treating them like family. I was surprised to see such a diverse patient base, with all different backgrounds and cultures. I was even more surprised and impressed that you can speak so many different languages. By speaking many different languages, I can see how it allows you to better connect with the patient. Because I only speak English, at times, it was difficult to keep up with the patient’s concerns and what was being discussed. It definitely helped when you translated in English what the patient said, but I still felt like I couldn’t connect and converse with the patient like I would have liked to. Despite the language barrier, I feel that there are others ways to establish a connection with a patient and I will continue to strive to create understanding. Based on my brief observation, it seems that your clinic runs like a well-oiled machine. Friendly technicians and front desk staff keep the clinic running smoothly, maintaining a good clinic flow.

As a future optometric clinician, it is very important to work with/co-manage patients alongside ophthalmologists to provide the best comprehensive eye care. I am always eager to learn more about the eyes because there is so much that I still have yet to know. Learning is ongoing; it doesn’t stop.  I would like to become more comfortable with diagnosis and treatment of ocular diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy. It is one thing to learn about these diseases in school, but it is another thing to learn about them on a case-to-case basis first hand, in the exam chair. I would also like to get more proficient on my skills so that I may be able to examine the eye thoroughly and completely.


Dr. Maile Miki