Raised by Chinese-American immigrants in the Midwest, Rick constantly considers how our layered identities shape our experiences. His childhood was particularly impacted by several family members’ arduous battles with cancer, marred by ongoing gaps in how health is understood and cared for. Formed in an environment of marginalization, his academic and professional interests grew out of a developing understanding of how race, queerness, and local moral worlds co-create his life and a deep frustration at persistent barriers to care in the world today.
Enrolling at Harvard in 2017, Rick studies regenerative biology and health policy with a specific interest in blood diseases. At Boston Children’s Hospital, he conducts research on hematopoietic development at the vanguard of CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technologies. His experiences, however, remind him that therapies are only restorative when they are accessible to communities who need them. In Boston, he has partnered with community groups and policymakers to divert mental health patients from the carceral system, expand family-planning resources for LGBTQ families, and evaluate shelter-based opioid therapies for people experiencing homelessness. He’s a member of a community board at The Fenway Institute which discusses HIV/AIDS research and reviews clinical trials. On campus, he was elected head of his residential community and led Harvard’s outdoor preorientation program, working to create inclusive campus spaces.
Rick hopes to become a physician-scientist and community advocate, imaginatively and collaboratively reshaping our landscape of care. In all he does, he lets love and determined action serve as his guides.