Celebrating Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month

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May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, and Overlake is proud to recognize the historical and cultural contributions of Asians and Pacific Islanders who for generations have made contributions to the history and achievements of the United States.

In honor of the month, we invited Overlake team members to share their thoughts on what their heritage means to them and the importance of diversity in healthcare.


What is your Asian American or Pacific Island heritage/ethnicity and what does your heritage mean to you?

“I am Surinamese (Dutch-Indonesian-Chinese-Creole) and Filipina. My heritage means everything to me: who I am past, present, future.” – Marsinah, Medical Assistant 

“My ethnicity is Native Hawaiian, Filipino, Chinese and Mexican. For me, heritage means someone's own uniqueness and individualism created by traditions and cultures.” – Maverick, Volunteer Training Specialist

Why is it important and what do you want to share with others?

“Coming from a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic city (Los Angles) and moving to Seattle’s Eastside, I have come to realize the lack of diversity. It is important for me to speak up for myself culturally and ethnically. People tend to categorize humans. Being a minority race, I do not want to be labeled as something I am not.” – Marsinah, Medical Assistant

“Being multiracial, I needed to understand why certain traditions were practiced in different family homes and how it intertwined between my own cultures. Some examples would include, footwear must be removed before entering the house, and greetings required a hug and a peck on the cheek and to bear gifts when meeting new family members.” – Maverick, Volunteer Training Specialist

“We played a key role in shaping the nation—from building the Transcontinental Railroad, to advocating for labor law changes, to fighting in multiple wars—while facing persistent discrimination throughout U.S. history.” – Soo May, Overlake Finance department

What brings you joy about your heritage and culture? What are some of your favorite traditions?

“What brings me joy about my heritage is that there is a historical context and most people learn something new when speaking with me about my cultural background. My favorite tradition is that the richness of my culture is passed down through generations of cooking recipes.” – Marsinah, Medical Assistant

“What brings me joy about my heritage and culture is the different type of foods my stomach is able to experience and practicing the spirit of Aloha. Some of the traditions I enjoy is making lei’s for the Hawaiian Merrie Monarch season, being able to have two monthly dinners primarily discussing our mental health, monthly Native Hawaiian chants and hula, singing karaoke and receiving the red envelope during Chinese New Year.” – Maverick, Volunteer Training Specialist

“As an Asian American, we have strong family values and pay much respect for one's parents and elders in the community.” – Soo May, Overlake Finance department

Why do you think diversity and inclusion in the healthcare workforce are important? How do greater diversity and inclusion affect the patient experience?

“Diversity and inclusion are important in healthcare because we take care of patients who are human beings with their own experiences and stories to acknowledge. By acknowledging this, we connect more on a compassionate and empathetic level, and hopefully, create a memorable and positive patient experience.” – Marsinah, Medical Assistant

“It’s important because it allows people to relate to other cultures and provides a chance to experience the cultures adjacently through storytelling and social interactions. It gives the patient a chance to have their care provided by someone who has the same culture or at least is culturally aware.” – Maverick, Volunteer Training Specialist

“Recognizing diversity, traditions and including cultural celebrations at work can be one way to help Asian American employees feel comfortable bringing their whole authentic selves to work.” – Soo May, Overlake Finance department

What led you to pursue a career in healthcare?

“I never knew I wanted to work in healthcare until I started volunteering in pediatric and geriatric hospices and being a suicide prevention advocate. Being exposed to these patients’ experiences inspired me to provide a service that will support people’s emotional and mental well-being.” – Maverick, Volunteer Training Specialist

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