NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital (NYPLMH) is an integral part of the Downtown community. We talked with Dr. Judy Tung about diversity in medicine, how she found her way back to New York, and advice she has for women’s health.
Dr. Judy Tung is an academic general internist committed to providing high quality, comprehensive primary care. Her philosophy of practice prioritizes communication and continuity. Her clinical interests are in women’s health and preventive medicine. She is also a core faculty member in the medical college, serving as the Associate Program Director for the residency training program.
Dr. Judy Tung is a graduate of Wesleyan University and received her M.D. from Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in 1997. She completed her Internal Medicine Residency program at University of California, San Francisco in 2000. Prior to joining Weill Cornell Internal Medicine Associates practice in 2001, Dr. Tung served one year as a Chief Resident in Primary Care Internal Medicine at New York University.
Downtown: What are some changes you’ve seen with diversity in medicine?
Judy Tung, M.D.: Greater awareness that health disparities exist and that to address it requires advancements in science (at how disease conditions might manifest differently and therefore need to be treated differently in specific populations), better partnerships with our community and strategic recruitment, and development of a health care workforce that reflects this diversity.
Downtown: What are some changes you would like to see?
JT: I would like to see institutional initiatives that address the above. For example, researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine and Cornell’s Ithaca campus recently established a new center to better understand why health outcomes vary among demographic groups. Through partnerships with communities in New York City and central New York, the Cornell Center for Health Equity will generate new evidence on how to eliminate such differences with the goal of achieving health equity for people locally, regionally, and nationally. Additionally, the Dean of Weill Cornell Medicine has made mentoring, particularly for women faculty and underrepresented minorities, a strategic priority for the next few years.
Downtown: How did you choose the field of medicine?
JT: I chose the field of medicine because I am fascinated by the human body and the human spirit; because illness is a universal equalizer, everyone is vulnerable to sickness, and because I enjoy empowering people to be their best selves and live their fullest life.
Downtown: Working with women, what are the most common issues among your patients?
JT: Women are often the keepers for the health of the family – they bring family members to the doctor’s, they prepare meals, and keep households still in the majority of American families. Educating women on how to take care of their physical and mental health has an impact on all members of the household.
Downtown: As an educator, are you noticing any significant changes in the next generation of medical professionals?
JT: Yes, the next generation of physicians are technologically savvy, innovative in their approaches to patient care, empowered to speak their minds, and advocate for their positions, making them an exciting group to work with.
Downtown: As someone who specializes in both women’s health and preventative medicine, what are some everyday things you feel that most women should be doing but aren’t?
JT: I feel that many women (and men) underestimate the value of physical activity. It is easy to lead a sedentary lifestyle. But it’s important to remind everyone that the simple acts of walking or stretching can prevent injury, unintended weight gain, and cardiovascular deconditioning.
Downtown: What do you like about working at NYP/LMH?
JT: LMH has a rich history and tradition of service, which was founded by Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman physician in the United States. LMH has a lot of heart, and because of this, it has also become a haven for New Yorkers, especially during several tragedies, including 9/11. I think people who choose to work in this community hospital have a strong sense of mission and a true dedication to the patients and the community in which the hospital serves. Providers and staff are willing to stretch their comfort zone and go out of their way to help each other and help patients.
Downtown: Why did you choose New York City for your practice after completing your residency in California?
JT: New York City is my home. I always knew I would come back after my training in San Francisco because the city is in my blood. I enjoy the pace, the culture, the diversity and the no nonsense straight forward way of communicating.
Downtown: If you could choose one what’s your favorite thing about New York City?
JT: My favorite thing about New York City is the food. You can get any cuisine at any time in multiple locations, and sometimes the food is better than if it were cooked in the native country.
Downtown: Battery Park City, better known as the diaper district, hosts plenty of new moms – what advice can you give a new mom who cannot find time for herself?
JT: My advice to new moms (I have two girls now 11 and 14, but the toddler years are still fresh in my memory) is to remember that our children learn from our verbal and explicit lessons, but they also learn by watching our actions. If we want them to grow up eating well, exercising, connecting with friends and family, self-reflecting, and re-charging, then we have to role model it for them. Plus, sleep gives you patience!
Downtown: Where do you go for an escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown?
JT: I am a homebody and love curling up on my couch with a good book or a Korean drama on TV when I need an escape. Other ways for me to unplug is with a jog around the reservoir in Central Park, a trip to my mother’s home in Midwood, Brooklyn, or a large family cruise.