Featured Alumna: Cecilia Jiang, DPT '12
Even though Cecilia Jiang is fortunate enough to be healthy, she has spent much of the past several years helping people with disabilities.
Her efforts resulted in her being named as a Albert Schweitzer Fellow during her time at the MGH Institute.
"People with disabilities are just as important as everyone else," said Jiang, a 2012 graduate of the entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy program. "I want to be able to do something that will help them and their families have a better quality of life."
She worked with Asian families through the non-profit organization Joni and Friends of Greater Boston, for which she already volunteers. Her project connected these families, most of whom live in Chinatown where 30% of residents in that neighborhood live below the poverty line, with suitable respite care resources and connect the mothers with bi-monthly support groups through the non-profit organization.
Jiang, who grew up in Taiwan, graduated in 2008 from the University of Virginia with a degree in biochemistry. As part of her Schweitzer Fellowship, she facilitated discussions on campus, focusing on health care disparities, cross-cultural sensitivity, and the spiritual aspects of caring for individuals with disabilities.
One thing she strived to do is make an impact after her year-long fellowship ended, noting that improving health care for people with disabilities is not only cost effective but is a matter of basic civil rights.
"I've seen too many programs fall apart after the person behind it leaves," noted Jiang, who received a $3,000 stipend for her efforts. "My goal is to become a physical therapist who will provide quality care to all patients, and that this project was a small step towards achieving quality and equality in the American health care system."