Meet Dr. Robert Wong, MD, MS, Clinical Associate Professor (Affiliated) of Medicine in the division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Staff Physician in the Gastroenterology Section at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Healthcare System.
Dr. Wong knew early in his training that he was interested in hepatology, specifically liver cancer. He said, “despite the availability of liver cancer screening modalities and effective treatment options, I was struck by how dismal survival rates were for patients with liver cancer so much of my early research aimed to understand the racial and ethnic disparities in liver cancer incidence and outcomes.”
Being a passionate advocate for healthcare equality, early intervention, screening and care, Dr. Wong encourages fellow colleagues and physicians nationwide to understand the disparities in diverse communities. Dr. Wong said, “understanding these disparities is the first step in identifying gaps. Only then can interventions be targeted to those with the greatest need.”
Chronic liver disease is an important health issue among Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. Dr. Wong said, “while viral hepatitis, particularly Hepatitis B, and liver cancer are two of the more common liver diseases affecting AAPI people, new studies are highlighting the rise in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease now as well.”
Dr. Wong stressed the most important steps in reducing the burden of liver disease among the AAPI community are:
He continued by saying, “the American Liver Foundation (ALF) is a critical source of education and resources not only for patients, but medical professionals as well. One of ALF’s strengths is its national group of medical professionals, across all disciplines, who are invested in developing education, quality improvement and advocating for public health and health policies that improve the care we provide our patients.”
When he is not saving lives or uncovering the mysteries of health disparities in Palo Alto, Dr. Wong enjoys traveling the world and learning about other cultures through their culinary experiences. Bon appetite, Dr. Wong! Thank you for your dedication and unwavering commitment to expose the disparities affecting AAPI and other communities.
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. For more information about liver disease and how it affects AAPI communities, visit our website.