March 30 is National Doctors’ Day in the United States. To celebrate, we interviewed two outstanding female doctors at On Lok, Dr. Janelle Ho and Dr. Alice Mao, to learn more about their journey of becoming doctors and their work with seniors.

Dr. Janelle Ho is the chief internist at On Lok PACE Gee Center in San Francisco. While studying at School of Medicine of Johns Hopkins University, she discovered she didn't like surgery. At the same time, she met many doctors specializing in geriatrics, and was inspired by their enthusiasm for aging care. Eventually, she completed her own postgraduate scholarship project in geriatrics.

Dr. Ho said that geriatrics allowed her to discover that medical care for the aging can be a comprehensive service, allowing patients to receive care not only from doctors and nurses, but also from nutritionists, physical therapists and social workers. With this in mind, she asked her mentor to help her contact On Lok in San Francisco so that she could apply to work with the organization that specialized in delivering this kind of care.

"Doctors who specialize in geriatrics believe that taking care of a patient is not just about making one or two diagnoses, but also taking care of the patient as a whole," said Dr. Ho. "They are very special doctors because they take good care of the most vulnerable patients.”

Dr. Ho added that in ordinary hospitals, patients can only see doctors temporarily, but at On Lok, patients can receive long-term care. Even if their health gradually deteriorates, On Lok can ensure that they continue to have a good quality of life.

Dr. Alice Mao is a geriatrician at the On Lok PACE Center in San Jose. She studied internal medicine and worked as a family doctor. Every time an elderly person comes into the center, she is happy. She feels that our aging population has a lot of life experience and wisdom and that she feels respect for them.

When Dr. Mao completed her graduate fellowship project at Stanford University, she learned of On Lok’s partnership with Standford University. This is what attracted her to the organization. After interning with On Lok for a month she really liked it and felt it would be a perfect place for her to be a doctor because she could not only use her medical skills to treat patients, but also work with a team of professionals to provide holistic services to seniors.

What makes Dr. Mao feel most accomplished is that as a geriatric specialist at On Lok, she can have a long-term relationship with the patients, deal with their conditions, and understand every detail of their lives. It is a rewarding experience, and while time flies, she appreciates every moment she spends with participants, helping to understand more about the degree of treatment they want to receive, what is important to them, and how she can help them to maintain a good quality of life.

Currently, there are more than 40 doctors supporting seven On Lok PACE Centers, which support 1,700 seniors, more than half of whom are Chinese. Most of On Lok's doctors have received geriatric specialist training, and services are personalized, with doctors and patients spending more time together discussing their conditions than if they were in the hospital.

National Doctor’s Day is a time to celebrate physicians and honor their commitment, dedication and contributions to society and the community. The origins of National Doctors’ Day can be traced back to 1933 in Winder, Georgia, when Eudora Brown Almond, the wife of local doctor Charles B. Almond, believed that hard-working doctors deserved a little extra recognition. On March 30, 1958, U.S. Congress passed a resolution designating March 30 as National Doctors’ Day. And in 1990, President Bush designated National Doctors' Day as an official holiday recognized by the U.S. government.

On this special day, we express our gratitude to all the doctors across the country who have contributed to society.

Source: World Journal, March 30, 2024