In The Heights

Monday, October 25, 2021

UCSF has been a sight for many historic events: public health emergencies like the HIV/AIDS pandemic, social movements like White Coats for Black Lives, and scientific discoveries like that of embryonic stem cells. While the record may not be blemish-free, there has been an array of groundbreaking change and healing to start and thrive on these grounds.

Over a century old, this black and white photograph of Model Ts parked along Parnassus Avenue features the early 1900s UC Hospital whose walls underlie the fresh paint and aesthetic glass accents we now see. I appreciate that in modernizing the campus architecture and interior design, this ongoing remembrance sits perfectly positioned to remind community members like me of the past.

Walking beside this picture in my blue scrubs and badge, I feel a sense of responsibility well up inside of me – the enormity of my privilege to be here. I owe the honor to others: to my mom, bravely immigrating here and showing me how to get the job done; to my dad, teaching me beyond my age and ensuring that my mind is older; and to my extensive circle of aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents for believing in my potential and teaching me that love doesn’t discriminate.

In some ways, I hope never to be satisfied. I hope to always feel the call to be better and do better for my patients and loved ones alike. Getting in to UCSF was a dream come true. Being here is my shot at carving out a chunk of history and being part of a legacy larger than myself. With every clunk of my clogs on the newly paved sidewalk, I am stepping into the enormous footprints of those who came before. While I walk in the Heights of UCSF Parnassus, I know that history has its eyes on me.