When Christina Fang and her family emigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan, the transition was challenging. She didn’t know anyone who spoke Mandarin in her new home of Sacramento, California, and she missed the community traditions she’d grown up with. She struggled to adapt to a new learning environment and to make friends.
Despite this, Fang insisted on trying new things and embracing her new home, which led her to volunteer at Sacramento, Calif., Lodge No. 6.
“Everyone warmly greeted me and demonstrated a sincere interest in my background,” Fang says about her first experience volunteering at the Lodge. “For the first time, I felt the courage to acknowledge everything that made me different as something to be cherished.”
In 2013, Fang was sponsored by the Sacramento Lodge when she received an MVS scholarship.
Inspired by a physician’s devotion to a family member’s rare condition, Fang resolved to care for others in the same holistic capacity. She started on a path to a career in medicine and attended the University of California-Berkeley, where she majored in integrative biology and Asian studies with a minor in music.
As Fang entered college, the confidence the Sacramento Elks instilled in her encouraged her to pursue her goals and maintain dedication to service and outreach. She volunteered at Camp Winning Hands, a camp sponsored by two California children’s hospitals for children with congenital hand differences. Fang learned what daily life looked like for the kids, many of whom emigrated to the U.S. like Fang and her family.
Fang understood the challenges of navigating the healthcare system when English isn’t your first language, and she says she saw how “medicine provided the tools to help these children live lives as big as their dreams.” Volunteering as a camp counselor solidified Fang’s desire to work in urban underserved communities and engage in community outreach work and research.
In 2019, Fang received a Gunther & Lee Weigel Medical School Scholarship to support her education at the University of California-Irvine School of Medicine.
“My greatest desire in aspiring to become a primary care physician is to provide for people and open doors for them to reclaim the life they want to live,” Fang says. “I hope to invest longitudinally and holistically in patients as their physician, educator, advocate and friend.”
For Fang, a career as a primary care physician will allow her to be a compassionate and trustworthy advocate that empowers patients in the same way her community empowered her.
“It was my community that had built me up, encouraged me and believed in me,” Fang says. “[The Sacramento Elks] warmly embraced me and encouraged me to continue striving boldly. My sincere hope is to continue representing the Elks Lodge as I share my journey in becoming a physician with my community.”
After losing her husband, Gunther, to a staph infection in November 2009, the late Lee Weigel wanted to improve the quality of healthcare in our country. To realize that goal, she partnered with the Elks National Foundation to endow the Gunther and Lee Weigel Medical School Scholarship, which helps Elks scholars pursue careers in medicine. For more information, visit enf.elks.org/WeigelMSS.