Jae Woong Jang’20

Bellevue Hospital, situated in the heart of Manhattan, serves a population of people from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, religions, cultures, and ethnicities. In the already high energy environment and organized chaos that is the Emergency Department, one would have to navigate the patients’ cultures, religions, and backgrounds to provide the patients a sense of comfort while they are at their most vulnerable. The high energy, organized chaos of the emergency department is where I feel at home.

During my junior and senior years of high school, I worked as a Volunteer Emergency Medical Technician at my local Ambulance Corp, and my twelve hour night shifts filled with back to back calls were the most memorable and I loved every moment of it. While riding for the town of Tenafly, NJ, the patients in my stretcher and under my care ranged from an infant with a respiratory complication to an elder whom I found dead on arrival with a DNR. During the ambulance rides to the hospital, with the patients in a vulnerable state in a relatively foreign environment, I learned to be an advocate for the patients, tending to their needs, keeping them company via conversation to make them comfortable, and doing whatever the patient required of me. Stocking up on supplies, rig checking, and the long night shifts made the day to day of riding with Tenafly Volunteer Ambulance Corp a task, but in hindsight, my two years spent with a pager by my side at all times were the most exciting and fulfilling. My two years with TVAC will allow myself to contribute experience from hundreds of calls to the program and to my interactions with the patients of Bellevue Hospital. Also my experiences with the New Jersey Korean American Association, New Jersey Milal, and Hopers Community, will bring my refined and energetic heart for service and advocacy to Project Healthcare.

My goal in life and the ultimate goal of my career is to be an advocate for the people who are at a disadvantaged position and cannot afford or do not have access to modern healthcare. I am an immigrant of South Korean descent. South Korea, by the numbers is a prosperous country, thriving culturally, and economically. But every time I make the trek to my home country, I see the senior citizens of Seoul and the nation in poverty and lacking access to healthcare. Elderly citizens, can be found out on the packed Friday night streets bumping shoulders with the youth, picking up after their bottles and boxes in order to gather enough money to pay for their next meal and pay for basic medications. Seeing the elderly, hunched back, tugging a cart full of cardboard down the streets of Seoul, just to afford pain medication truly broke my heart and motivated me to make my life goal to advocate for the impoverished elderly of South Korea and others in similar situations.