For the 11-year-old boy, it was not about finding a cure for his terminal illness but rather, from a spiritual perspective, affirming with him that his suffering would soon end and that he would find comfort.
This is the memory Dr. Thomas Yuen has of John, a Romanian youngster he met on a church mission, who was dying from cystic fibrosis.
For Dr. Yuen, a family medicine physician at Open Door Family Medical Center since 2003, it’s his deep faith that drives his medical work. Dr. Yuen recently was recognized as the “No Place Too Far” Doctor of Distinction Award recipient by Westchester Magazine for his work locally and internationally.
“Often it’s more than just giving them medicine, but about praying with them,” says Dr. Yuen, a New City resident, who as mission deacon arranges these trips to underserved countries for his church, Marantha Grace, a Baptist church in Englewood, NJ. “This moral support also gives them healing.”
Accompanying Dr. Yuen and other medical providers on these annual missions with his church – which most recently included a mission to Jamaica with his wife and five children (ages 10 – 18) – are educators and social workers, and teenagers. In recent years, this has included missions to rural areas across Romania, Haiti, Jamaica, and Guatemala. Multilingual in English, Spanish, Cantonese, and Toisan, Dr. Yuen works alongside local public health nurses to identify and address pressing needs, bring medical supplies and offer health education, treatment, vaccines, and screenings to those individuals in need.
Dr. Yuen grew up in a Christian home in the Bronx and attended church in Chinatown. His mission of giving back is further supported by his medical work locally. For over 10 years, Dr. Yuen has led Open Door’s medical team in Port Chester — the largest of Open Door’s six medical center sites. Practicing at a Federally Qualified Health Center, Dr. Yuen brings patient-centered, outcomes-driven health care to the most underserved individuals and families in Westchester – many of whom face circumstances similar to those abroad — poverty, linguistic isolation, mental health issues, chemical dependency, lack of health insurance, and limited health literacy.
“His passion for serving those in need is guided by his deep faith; his ‘North Star’ is serving through healing,” says Lindsay Farrell, President/CEO of Open Door, which has been providing quality health care to families in Westchester County regardless of their ability to pay, since 1972. “Medicine is his mission.”
Over the years, thousands of families have come to know Dr. Yuen’s unwavering commitment to service, astute diagnostic capabilities, and exceptionally gentle and welcoming demeanor.