Shuyi Chen


Educational Background
Biochemistry major and Public Health minor at Occidental College

Why did you join NHC?
I joined NHC, because I thought it would be a wonderful program to combine my interest in serving people in greatest needs and my passion for learning about the health care system and the challenges along with it. I also hoped to gain more hands-on practical experience in a clinical setting by working directly with patients, caregivers and administrators. Furthermore, I was looking forward to developing some core competencies-such as communication skills, leadership skill and ethics in public service-that would allow me to become an effective medical provider in the future.

What are your plans after NHC?
After NHC, I intend to apply for medical school, where I can continue to grow as a person and physician.

What sparked your interest in community service?
When I was in college, I volunteered as a community tutor for elementary students who were either from low income families or were new immigrants to the United States. One of the tutees I worked with was in 4th grade and had recently immigrated from China. He demonstrated strong math skills, but had trouble in understanding basic English sentences, such as “What did you eat for breakfast?” He had a big dream of becoming an aircraft engineer when he grew up. However, the public school his attended was not sufficient in providing the extra help he needed to overcome the language barrier, which would prevent him from achieving his full potential. This experience sparked my interest in community service, because I realized that opportunities and resources are not equally distributed to each individual. However, with community service, we can close the gaps and help people to thrive in this nation together.

What excites you the most about serving in Philadelphia?
I am especially excited about interacting with patients from diverse backgrounds and gaining insights from their individual stories. Patients may speak different languages and have different immigration status, but when they come to the health center, it means that there is a health need that could not be fulfilled elsewhere. I am eager to listen to people’s stories, provide them with the service, and contemplate on the systemic problems behind these patient’s circumstances and struggles. I want to challenge myself not only to understand the barriers that patients face in accessing health care, but also the social and economical forces that underlie this systemic inequality.

What is your favorite food?
Boba milk tea!

Home Town:
Shanghai, China
Host Site: