Jan 23

Tzu Chi Community Health

Happy Monday, and welcome to Medical Mondays!

I just came off an 80-hour work week (3 weeks down, 11 more to go!?) and spent my day off volunteering as a spotter/loader at a powerlifting meet in the area. (Guess who’s joining the Rutgers Powerlifting Team like she said she would!? ;P )

I was running on 30 hours of sleep over the course of the week, so to say that I was tired whilst hoisting giant plates around (500+ lbs at a rack height of 14 was not fun) would be a mild understatement. That being said, I got to meet several members of the team and they all seem really nice. I’m super excited! :D! But…that has nothing to do with this post.

I think we’ve well established that I’m very much an “after the fact” blogger. I write and schedule most of my posts weeks to months in advance because that’s the only way I can keep this blog going through residency, sooo…this post is actually about a few Tzu Chi community health events I volunteered for back in September/October!


tzu chi community health

If you recall wayy back in the day when I was interviewing for residency, I shared several quotes I came across whilst on the residency interview trail! A few of those were actually from my current advisor, who knew exactly how to speak to my soul when she was trying to recruit me to this program.

One such thing that she mentioned was that if I chose this program, there was a good-sized population of Mandarin/Cantonese-speaking-only patients that I could really make a difference with, since I used to volunteer as a medical interpreter. There were also numerous community health events that I could volunteer at and a free clinic that I could be a junior attending for. She also finds me free food opportunities. <3


My advisor also teaches the Medical Mandarin course at our affiliated medical school, and while Mandarin is not my native language, I did take 2 classes in high school and 2 classes in college, so I can understand most of it and speak it in life-or-death situations. (I like to think that if I had a chance to practice, I’d be able to speak more fluently.)

tzu chi community health

Tzu Chi (慈濟) was founded by Cheng Yen, a Taiwanese Buddhist nun, teacher, and philanthropist, and is an international humanitarian organization that strives to relieve the suffering of others and to create a better world.

In Chinese, “慈” means compassion and “濟” means relief, and its four major causes are Charity, Medicine, Education and Humanity, which are highlighted by their motto, “Four endeavors, eight footprints” (四大志業,八大腳印). The eight footprints are:

  • Charity causes
  • Medical contributions
  • Education development
  • Humanistic culture
  • International disaster assistance
  • Bone marrow donation
  • Community volunteerism
  • Environmental protection

You can see some of the amazing things the organization has done here! There are 9 branches in the U.S., and the one I worked with is located in the Mid-Atlantic region!

Learn more about Tzu Chi and connect with them on social media!

facebook | twitter

So where the hecks did I play a role in this?

Although they don’t yet have a building for a free clinic in NJ, they put together community health events in different parts of the state 2-3 times a year and gather a bunch of medical professionals–from family practice (us!) to dentistry to acupuncturists, and we get to see patients and offer medical consultation and guidance! :]

tzu chi tea + desserts

This was from the “thank you” tea time we had after the event! Green tea + a homemade green bean cookie, longan jelly, egg tart, and strawberry! <3

Since I’m still an intern and don’t have a license yet, I shared a table with my advisor, but she gave me a very long leash and only stepped in if I voiced the need for it. I got to work with patients on developing healthier eating habits, improving sleep hygiene, decreasing the stressors in their lives, finding resources to quit smoking, and explaining lab results and specialists’ opinions/recommendations. It also kinda made me wish I was better at OMT because being able to offer that as an extra service would’ve been pretty awesome. (I did recently pick up a patient with chronic back pain that OMT seems to be helping with though!)

It was also really cool getting to meet her Medical Mandarin med students as well as all the other volunteers that made these events possible! The people there were so, so kind and the events definitely would not have run anywhere near as smoothly if not for all their help! I’m definitely hoping to continue volunteering there whenever possible! :]

They also gave each volunteer a bag of delicious vegan treats!

They also gave each volunteer a bag of delicious vegan treats!

  • What’s a cause that you support + believe in?
  • Is there an organization/charity that you really like volunteering with?

I came up with this design ages ago for our class t-shirt contest! :]
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Permanent link to this article: http://www.fairyburger.com/tzu-chi-community-health/



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  1. Mary

    Happy Medical Monday!!!! OMG you worked 80 hours a week, and you found time to volunteer, you are truly an inspiration. Your medical Mandarin course sounds interesting. I’m going to look into Tau Chi; I love reading about Eastern Medicine.
    Mary recently posted…Challenge MondayMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Thanks, Mary! I am pretty exhausted, haha. I hadn’t actually planned on staying the entire day but I also didn’t want to just ditch everyone part-way through the meet so I figured I’d just stick it out. I’ll catch up on sleep in April maybe(?). 😛

  2. Ginger Hultin

    This sounds like a wonderful event – what a cool program to be a part of!

    1. Farrah

      Thanks, Ginger! It really was! I’m hoping I can help out at the ones that’ll be held this year too! :]!

  3. ShootingStarsMag

    Sounds like a really wonderful opportunity – for you and the people you were able to help! I also need to be more like you in terms of scheduling things ahead of time on the blog. haha

    As for your questions, I volunteer with my local chapter of GLSEN when I can and that’s a cause I really believe in. If you don’t know, GLSEN stands for Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network.

    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Picture Book Review: When You’re Feeling Sick by Coy Bowles of Zac Brown BandMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Agreed! 😀 And ah, haha–I mainly do all the scheduling in advance because there’s no way I’d be able to maintain my blog otherwise. 😛

      That’s awesome that you do that! <3 I'm hoping to be able to provide better health care to the LGBT population (super glad that my residency program is really supportive of that)!
      Farrah recently posted…Savory Oatmeal with Fried Egg and SrirachaMy Profile

  4. Kristy from Southern In Law

    What an interesting opportunity this would have been! Those treats look so so scrumptious!

    I’m really passionate about working with children – and supporting kids in foster care. I run a playgroup for toddlers at our church during the week and also volunteer with a charity that supports kids in foster care. Each week I go and read and hang out with a local kid in foster care to help them with their literacy and numeracy and encourage a love of learning!
    Kristy from Southern In Law recently posted…Recipe: Easy Vegan Pikelets (Gluten Free)My Profile

    1. Farrah

      That’s so awesome, Kristy! I’m so glad to hear that, and I bet the kids really appreciate all that you do! <3 I used to volunteer at a children's hospital in therapeutic recreation/child life and as a science camp counselor and being able to teach the kids and encourage their love of learning was definitely a lot of fun! :]
      Farrah recently posted…Savory Oatmeal with Fried Egg and SrirachaMy Profile

  5. Julie @ Running in a Skirt

    What an amazing way to give back! Sounds like a really nice day!
    Julie @ Running in a Skirt recently posted…Healthy Greek Yogurt GuacamoleMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      It definitely was! :] I hope I get to help out this year too!
      Farrah recently posted…Savory Oatmeal with Fried Egg and SrirachaMy Profile

  6. Barrie

    So interesting to read about this organization- Volunteering makes you feel part of your community I think- I volunteer at my kids’ schools a lot- I like getting to know the people behind my kid’s everyday lives.
    Barrie recently posted…Adrenal Thyroid Revolution: Book ReviewMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Agreed! 😀 I very much feel like a stranger in this community sometimes despite having been here for several months now, but getting to volunteer within the community definitely helps! :] That’s great that you volunteer at your kids’ schools! <3
      Farrah recently posted…Savory Oatmeal with Fried Egg and SrirachaMy Profile

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