Incoming WAM Co-Chair appreciates strength of diversity at OHSU

Dr. NgThe Casey Eye Institute’s John Ng, MD, has long been a steadfast advocate for women’s rights, in particular when it comes to ensuring that women have access to higher education. “The education of women and their equality in leadership positions is crucial to progress in our society,” he says. As a practicing Baha’i, a religion rooted in Iran, he points out that “As Baha’is we feel it’s the responsibility of men to work towards the promotion of these rights and responsibilities of women.”

A member of Women in Academic Medicine (WAM) Committee since 2007, Dr. Ng, Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, will become the WAM’s first male co-chair next year. He will co-chair this position with Karen Eden, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology.

“It’s an honor to serve on WAM,” said Dr. Ng. “Over the years the group has put in place the architecture for the advancement of women into key leadership positions at OHSU. It’s my privilege to serve in such a capacity.”

WAM was formed in 1993 to address issues of concern to women faculty. Current Co-Chair, Rebecca Harrison, MD, FACP, Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, expects the committee to thrive under his new leadership with Dr. Eden. “John is a humanist who always promotes the welfare of the entire University with his continual emphasis on the betterment and promotion of both women and men faculty at OHSU,” said Dr. Harrison.

One of the aspects he finds most satisfying by teaching at the university may be found in his mentoring relationships with students. “Recently, I supported a Bahá’í student’s initiatives to hold devotional meetings on campus,” he said. “It was rewarding to support this group coming together, and to appreciate the culture of diversity we have at OHSU.”

Second-year medical student Anisa Morriah Richardson shadowed Dr. Ng in a clinical and surgical environment. “He is one of the most meticulous and enthusiastic instructors I have ever encountered in my academic career,” she said. “He displays an extraordinary gift for teaching and a passion for his work that is contagious.”

Dr. Ng credits his Bahá’í Faith, which emphasizes education as a key principle, for helping drive his personal connection to faculty and students. “Bahá’u’lláh teaches us that education will bring humanity out of ignorance and promote the progress of civilization,” he said. “The cause of universal education is dear to me.”

Sensitized to the consequences of discrimination, Dr. Ng cites the manner in which Bahá’í’s living in Iran have been “denounced for their beliefs and hindered from obtaining a higher education.”

At OHSU, Dr. Ng says he is pleased with the effort being put into diversity awareness. “President Joe Robertson has been a strong supporter of promoting diversity on campus. He is proactive and keenly aware of the strength that diversity brings to organizations, especially in variety of thought, collaboration and understanding the greater community in which we live.”

He proudly points to the recent unveiling of the OHSU Diversity Story Wall as an outward symbol of what the institution and community promote in race and gender equality.
In addition to his advocacy for universal education, Dr. Ng, through a handful of international humanitarian mission trips to Honduras, Albania and Egypt, has cared for the underserved and instructed local physicians in oculofacial plastics surgery procedures. He also volunteers at Portland area elementary schools to teach smoking prevention and alcohol and drug abuse prevention programs.

Dr. Ng will begin his role as WAM Co-Chair in June, 2012.