Growing up, Dr. Jeanie Chiu remembers when a group of young men targeted her parents’ Chinese restaurant, making racial slurs, cracking windows and hitting it with BB gun pellets.
“My experiences growing up as an immigrant in America and attending medical school at Howard University have driven my passion for equality and inclusion,” said Chiu, a Division Medical Director with CSL Plasma. “I immediately knew why this had happened to us. Both positive and negative, these profound experiences have shaped my life and made me who I am today.”
Chiu, a pathologist, will bring her personal experiences and professional expertise to a new role as a member of the College of American Pathologists’ (CAP) committee on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI.) She would like to work for greater awareness about the role of pathologists and the field of pathology. If you’ve ever had a blood test or gave a medical sample that went to a lab, you have experienced pathology in health care. Pathology and laboratory science are critical in the health care system and are especially vital in making diagnoses.
CAP, the leading organization of board-certified pathologists, serves patients, pathologists, and the public by fostering and advocating excellence in the practice of pathology and laboratory medicine worldwide. Here’s how CAP explains it on its website: “Pathologists diagnose cancers, decode other illnesses, and ensure laboratory quality and continuous improvement in your health care.” Pathologists assist when “patients experience symptoms of a disease, want to find out if they are predisposed to a condition or need more information to inform a treatment plan.”
Day-to-day, Chiu fields questions from CSL Plasma centers about plasma donations, processes and procedures and coordinates with other departments, such as legal and regulatory affairs. She also interviews and trains new physicians. Chiu was one of just 12 named to the committee from a field of 122. The DEI committee was created to advance CAP's ability to maximize diversity, equity and inclusion; and to support the visibility and participation of underrepresented pathologists and pathologists-in-training.
A member of CAP since 2003, Chiu looks forward to helping create programs in outreach and mentoring, as well as serving in a mentor capacity. She aims to make a positive impact in educating and recruiting minority physicians-in-training to the field of pathology. Increased diversity and representation can help address unmet medical needs for minority patients affected by conditions, such as sickle cell disease, Chiu said.
“This appointment is an opportunity for me to champion a cause that I am deeply passionate about. I'm excited to work with like-minded colleagues who may relate to the same experiences I've had as a member of a minority group,” said Chiu, who hopes to bring DEI insights and perspectives back to CSL Plasma.