Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month has a special meaning for Katherine Gonzales because it's a time to honor and acknowledge the remarkable contributions that AAPI individuals bring to this country, the community, and the healthcare industry.
"As a Filipino American healthcare leader, I bring a unique perspective to the new healthcare landscape challenges and awareness to the community's diverse needs," said Gonzales, who serves as regional director of surgical services at Broward Health Imperial Point. "I also help close the gap on health disparities that still exist."
As a healthcare leader, Gonzales is well-positioned to work toward inclusivity and advancing health equity through representation by growing and diversifying the healthcare workforce and leadership.
"Empowering our healthcare workers by increasing their knowledge and education will positively impact and improve patient care for all," she said.
Matthew K. Garner, FACHE, Chief Executive Officer at Broward Health North
For the past year, Matthew Garner has been serving as chief executive officer at Broward Health North. As an Asian-Pacific American leader in healthcare, he hopes to set an example for other Asian-Pacific Americans who are aspiring to be healthcare leaders.
"Being an Asian-Pacific American leader in healthcare means that I can represent my heritage in a role that has historically had underrepresentation from those who share my ethnic background," Garner said. "I take great pride in the integral role Asian-Pacific Americans have played in the development of the America we know today. This month gives us an opportunity to reflect on the specific contributions from those who share a common heritage."
Sissy Stephen, BSN, Nurse Manager at Broward Health Coral Springs
Sissy Stephen, BSN, is a nurse manager in the NICU at Broward Health Coral Springs. Born and raised in Mumbai, India, Sissy describes Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month as a time to focus on appreciating your culture and respecting the cultures of others, while also recognizing the accomplishments and successes of those with an Asian-American background.
Sissy, who has worked for Broward Health for three years, said that being Asian American has shaped her perspective on working in healthcare. Respect and family are essential in her culture, she explained.
"Children are taught at an early age to treat family and elders with care from their tone, actions, and, most importantly, empathy," Sissy said. "I use those cultural values in all my daily decisions and hope I encompass the same values that my parents taught me."
Sissy is proud of her Indian heritage and says that what makes it unique is its diversity.
"India is a cultural melting pot where people from different parts of the world and different religions with a rich heritage, traditions, and festivals unite. Indian food is also heavily influenced by religion, particularly Hinduism and Islam, cultural choices, and traditions," she said. "The unique thing about our culture is that there is always positivity and hope in everything – there is a strong foundation of faith, hope, respect, and love."
Aimee R. Eugenio, BSN, RN, CCRN, Assistant Nurse Manager
at Broward Health Coral Springs
Aimee R. Eugenio is proud to represent her culture and heritage at Broward Health Coral Springs. Being an AAPI leader allows her to lead with a mindset that is open to other cultures and perspectives.
"I hope to be an inspiration to all our employees, as it is important to foster a work environment that is diverse and encourages creativity and innovation," Eugenio said. "It's an honor to showcase my heritage and culture by celebrating AAPI Heritage Month. It's a chance to bring awareness to and educate others on the values and traditions that I was brought up with and which have shaped me into the best version of myself."