AHS Volunteer Spotlight: Ryan Wi, COVID Team

Ryan Wi has been an AHS volunteer since January 2021. In addition to working a full-time job as a Research Associate at Kaiser Permanente, Wi has been a fixture at AHS’ Saturday COVID clinics. Rena Wang, COVID Program Manager, remarks, “Ryan has been dedicated to showing up for the community each weekend, providing the best quality of service to our patients and creating a positive work environment for our staff. He is such an inspiring and positive person, and we are so lucky to have him as a part of the team throughout the pandemic.”

Wi has a passion for healthcare from the lens of preventative medicine. Having been born and raised in Oakland, he appreciates opportunities to work with local underserved communities to increase access to care.

As the vaccines began rolling out early in 2021, Wi began volunteering with AHS’ COVID team. Wi enjoys making connections with the patients, whether through a shared love for sports teams, greeting regulars at the Fremont site, or chatting about what’s going on with people’s lives during the pandemic. Wi says, “When I initially joined, I knew that people would be frustrated and that the pandemic has been a big blanket on people’s attitudes with having to go get tested and worrying about having been exposed… that can be very challenging. But what surprised me the most was just the positivity that people had.” Wi expresses how the patients’ gratitude to the COVID team brings him much joy and keeps him going, even when things get tough through the surges. Furthermore, the COVID team members’ flexibility and understanding of the people that they serve “makes a working environment that’s so positive and makes me want to come back. I can’t thank them enough for making my volunteer time that much more special.”

In addition to working at the testing sites, Wi has enjoyed being a part of local events, such as the Mid Autumn Festival and a couple of other events in the Vietnamese district in Oakland. “If there’s one thing that I wish people knew about more, it’s more than just the health services that AHS can provide. It’s really their role in the community,” notes Wi. Wi sees how these events promote a sense of unity. He emphasizes how important it is to have organizations like AHS provide resources to collectively empower and uplift the community.

Wi is planning on attending medical school in the fall. Through four years of working in healthcare with the local community as well as his volunteer experience with AHS, he knows that “[Organizations like AHS] are the kinds of organizations that I see myself getting involved in as a future physician. I hope to stay here in the Bay Area and continue to work with underserved communities here in Oakland and increase access to care and preventative medicine.”

AHS is thankful for Ryan Wi and his contributions. We will miss him when he leaves to attend medical school and wish him all the best with his future endeavors!

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