As a child, James Huang, M.D.'09, witnessed his parents’ struggle to access the health care they needed, memories that now fuel his life’s work.
“Both of my parents are deaf, and were also immigrants,” says the 2009 graduate of the UVM Larner College of Medicine. “Seeing the different systems that both elevated their health and put up barriers to their health has motivated me to think through how we can make health equitable for everyone.”
Now a family medicine physician with Unity Health Care, a federally qualified health center in Washington D.C., Huang is tackling pressing community needs. In 2016, he founded the CODA (Comprehensive Medical Care for Deaf Adults and Children) Clinic. The 50 staff members provide culturally appropriate care, while a partnership with Gallaudet University – the nation’s first university designed to be barrier-free for deaf students - expands the clinic’s reach. Huang is also working to increase access to healthy food through a produce prescription program for immigrant families. In 2018, he was named an Atlantic Fellow for Health Equity through the George Washington University Workforce Institute. Today, he’s a leader in a global network focused on eradicating health disparities.
Behind Huang’s advocacy work is strong support from his medical alma mater. The no-fee, no interest loan he received through a program founded by the College’s namesake – Robert Larner, M.D. - has eased his debt burden, allowing him to pursue his passion for a just health care system.
“I still appreciate that generosity,” he says.
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