President Trump is said to have expressed a preference for more immigrants from countries like Norway and fewer from Africa and the Caribbean. That got the attention of Dr. David Anderson.

It is unlikely that your new cardiologist will be Norwegian.
I myself am a 67-year-old cardiologist of Norwegian heritage. Our people were farmers, my grandfather a hospital janitor and my hard working parents did not go to college. They made many sacrifices and I applied their work ethic to college and medical school. My medical school class was overwhelmingly male and white, largely Jewish and also second and third generation European from hard working families like mine.

In 2018, as I walk the halls of the hospital and confer with hospitalists, surgeons and other specialists, I am struck by how much has changed. Almost to a woman, my younger colleagues are non-European. They — or their parents — struck out from Pakistan and India and China and Iran and Nigeria to make a new life for themselves and their families.

As we work together to deliver the best of care to our patients, what do we have in common? Certainly it is not our ethnicity. No, it is more about our approach to our lives and work. Its shaped by what we saw in our parents, their hard work, their self-sacrifice, their pioneer spirit and their knowledge that they had to do more than the next guy to make it. I think our backgrounds lead us to place a high value on community and the need to serve. We understand at a basic level that all are equal and deserve our care and attention.

Of course, it is not just the doctors that have changed my world. I am mindful of the porter from El Salvador, the ward secretary from Guatemala, the charge nurse from Nigeria, all consummate professionals doing their job and often raising a family. As we chat about those families I learn that often their hard working kids will be filling future medical school classes.

I am witness to a microcosm of the American dream. Let us hold it up as an example and be happy that there will be a Fatima to replace a David and an Alvarez to replace an Anderson.

With a Perspective, I’m Dr, David Anderson.

David Anderson is a cardiologist in the East Bay with Stanford Healthcare.

Health Care Rainbow 9 February,2018Amanda Font

  • Curious

    Hard to become a cardiologist when you drop out of high school.

    • Long

      But, their children might.

      51% of US-born vietnamese, the children of vietnamese refugees in 1980 have bachelors degree or higher, as compared with 31% of all US.

      • Curious

        As of 2014, among Hispanics ages 25 to 29, just 15% of Hispanics have a bachelor’s degree or higher. By comparison, among the same age group, about 41% of whites have a bachelor’s degree or higher (as do 22% of blacks and 63% of Asians).

        • Long

          The reason I quoted vietnamese was because most of them are 1st or 2nd generation immigrants. For other ethnic groups, it is not easy to see how the children of immigrants perform by statistics.

          Most of immigrants, not only have to strive to make a living, but also send money to their families at home countries. I used vietnamese as an example of how the immigrants with low income and low education level can have strong positive influence to their children.

          • Curious

            Asians have a different culture about education than Hispanics, with obvious results.

  • Very well put.

  • baumgrenze

    Thank you Dr. David Anderson. How I wish our president could ‘listen’ to this Perspective. Everything I’ve heard suggests is is unlikely he might even ‘hear’ it, let alone ‘listen’ to it.

    I am first generation (paternal – German – Labor Day 1929) and ‘first generation English speaking’ (maternal – Mom and her siblings learned English in school.) My parents finished their formal education in grade 7 and 8. They urged my two siblings and me to get as much education as we could. I was the second to complete a baccalaureate degree and went on to finish a doctorate in organic chemistry. My story is not unlike Dr. Anderson’s.

    My father and his next older sibling were the last of his family to emigrate from Germany, although in the late 1930’s Dad brought his father to the US as a visitor and he would have applied as an immigrant but he saw WWII coming and went back home ‘to look after the women folk.’ Did they engage in ‘chain migration?’ Each of the siblings found a sponsor who paid their passage to the US in return for indentured labor. Perhaps of Grossvater had come, chain migration might have applied.


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