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UCSF Asian Heart and Vascular Center Welcomes New Advisors

Maria Fang, Carolyn Gan, David Lei and Rolland Lowe

Since its inception one and a half years ago, the UCSF Asian Heart and Vascular Center (AHVC) has made reaching out to the Asian community a top priority. In turn, the community has taken notice and is responding with its support. Five prominent members of the Chinese community have agreed to join AHVC's Advisory Cabinet, in addition to its founding members: Irene Riley, Mae C. Woo, Ellen D. Chan, Henry T. Gaw and Sandy Yu. New Advisory Cabinet members include Rolland Lowe, MD, Maria Fang and David Lei. Carolyn Gan joined as a new member of the Honorary Council. Each new AHVC member exemplifies compassion, civic engagement and philanthropy, and demonstrates desire and support for raising the bar on the general health status and decreasing health and health care disparities in the Asian community. Now, these new cabinet members will join efforts to support the AHVC. Providing Support Until his recent retirement, Lowe, an alumnus of the UCSF School of Medicine, was a well-known health advocate for the community, an expert mentor to young physicians, and a trusted and highly respected physician for his patients. He promotes cultural competence and workforce diversity through public health policy, planning and advocacy both within organized medicine and through his own foundation work. In addition to holding many key positions before his retirement at the Chinese Hospital in San Francisco, Lowe helped to found the Chinese Community Health Care Association, the Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum, and served as the first Asian-American president of the California Medical Association. Lowe also served on the boards of numerous organizations, and founded and chaired the Lawrence Choy Lowe Memorial Fund. A proficient international business entrepreneur, Fang has a diverse background in banking, equities investments, manufacturing, bonded warehousing, cold storage, real estate investments and developments. She is married to Joseph Fang, who comes from a prominent family in Hong Kong. Fang is also active in various social and philanthropy societies and organizations, and has been a member of the Yale University School of Nursing Advisory Board for the past three years. Lei worked as a social worker in San Francisco's Chinatown with at-risk youths before starting his business in 1981 specializing in exporting consumer products to Mexico. He sold his business and took early retirement at the end of 2006. Lei has a keen passion for building communities, promoting social changes and improvements, youth education, and the arts, as demonstrated by his active participation on numerous nonprofit boards, including serving as board vice chair of the San Francisco Asian Art Museum. He also co-founded multiple nonprofit organizations: Chinese Performing Arts Foundation, Chung Ngai Dance Troupe, Academy of Chinese Performing Arts and others. One of his current passions is to bring about the long-term sustainability of Chinatown's nonprofits, including AHVC, via individual planned gifts. Gan, a successful businesswoman in the Bay Area, is also the co-president of the UC Chinese Alumni Association. Gan, additionally, has a finger on the pulse of the Asian community through her longtime journalistic work with AsianWeek, a nationally distributed weekly newspaper. Promoting Health AHVC regularly reaches out to the Asian community to increase health literacy and awareness by offering various health screenings and monthly, culturally sensitive and language-appropriate health seminars with different topics. Usually free to the community, these educational efforts focus on preventive care, symptom recognition to enable early access into the medical system and self-management techniques for chronic health conditions. Partially supported by the Mount Zion Health Fund, these community education efforts are important complements to the city's initiative to provide universal health care to San Franciscans. The AHVC has just started a new series of classes for 2008, and is recruiting not just UCSF faculty, but also expert health care practitioners in the Asian community to teach. The work of AHVC has been supported by the Northern California Chinese Media Association, where individual members use their own media venues, including newspaper, radio and television, to publicize AHVC's community programs. Additionally, AHVC has a listserv of more than 5,000 recipients, including UCSF, San Francisco General Hospital and San Francisco Department of Public Health employees and other key community leaders, to help disseminate program information to the community. For more information about AHVC's programs, contact Diana Lau, RN, MS, CNS, administrative director of AHVC, at 415/885-3898.