Written by Christina Chang
Translated by Diana Chang
Edited by Adriana DiBenedetto
In the summer of July 2021, the state of California lifted most COVID-19 regulations, and Tzu Chi USA’s community clinic, which had shut its doors for more than one year amid public health precautions, resumed its services. The initial opening provided free check-ups to volunteers to ensure wellness at community events.
The first medical outreach event was held on the morning of July 12th at Tzu Chi USA’s Milpitas service center, followed by another medical outreach event on Saturday afternoon, July 17th, led by the Chiropractic Department. Following these initial openings, services from the two departments are available every two weeks.
“Since the vaccination rate in the California Bay Area is quite high, we think it’s time to reopen the clinic,” explained Chijen Huang, a member of Tzu Chi’s medical team. “At the same time, all the doctors and volunteers have received vaccinations before they join the event.” Although Tzu Chi volunteers were to be the first group of patients at the clinic, all the proper procedures were rigorously implemented according to regulations, so that when they officially reopened to the public, Tzu Chi’s clinic will be fully prepared to extend their services to the community.
Always Ready to Serve
Dr. Kevin Hwang, a Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) member, has participated in medical outreach activities for over 23 years. From his participation during collaborations with Remote Area Medical (RAM), to his aid at Tzu Chi’s Milpitas service center and at medical outreach events in the community, Dr. Hwang’s support is deeply cherished, indeed.
“I have always been ready, and I’m very excited to have this opportunity to start helping all the residents in need and provide proper medical services.” Dr. Hwang couldn’t hide his excitement when he received the call from Chijen Huang to participate in the upcoming medical outreach event. Dr. Kevin Hwang’s expertise not only seeks to relieve pain but find the root of it as well.
A Clinic Like Family
A Tzu Chi volunteer named Meishiang Huang experienced an arm injury due to a fall two years ago, and discovered she had scoliosis during a health exam. When she received the news about proceeding with free medical services, she immediately registered for a consultation. After the appointment, Dr. Hwang’s rehabilitation techniques had considerably eased the discomfort from her arm and spine.
“I’m grateful to finally have the opportunity to meet Tzu Chi volunteers in person who I haven’t seen in a long time,” Meishiang said. There were six Tzu Chi volunteers at the clinic that day. With warmth and kindness, everyone chatted happily about how they were doing. “The love and care from the volunteers really felt like home.”
Ian Krajcovic experienced a leg injury from a car accident last year. After receiving rehabilitation treatment, he has gradually recovered. Upon learning, however, that Tzu Chi’s Milpitas service center provides Eastern medical treatments, he decided to come as soon as the service center reopened. He hoped Dr. Mike Liaw would apply his expertise in Chinese medicine to help alleviate the pain that still troubles him.
After Dr. Liaw carefully read Ian’s pulse and administered a series of treatments, Ian said, “I really feel the sensation of the injured area of my leg and it’s recovering.”
Opening Its Doors After Fifteen Months
The free medical services at Tzu Chi’s Milpitas service center had been put on pause for more than a year due to the pandemic. In order to reopen, volunteers from Tzu Chi USA’s Northwest Region mobilized, and after four cleaning phases, the service center was finally ready. The air filtration in the building additionally upholds current CDC guidelines, and everyone will be asked to wash their hands and put on new masks provided by the service center.
“Protecting the patients and the doctors are the most important responsibilities when we reopen the service center,” explained Robin Chang, the Tzu Chi volunteer in charge of preparations at the service center.
The July sun in California shone brightly on Tzu Chi’s Milpitas service center, giving the reopening of free medical services a warm and welcoming start. Tzu Chi is committed to upholding the wellbeing of community members, and volunteers hope to extend care to more people in our next medical outreach event.