Richard So

What is your favorite public health experience and why?

“One of my favorite experiences is working collaboratively with other groups and community stakeholders and actually leveraging our combined resources to make a difference. Whether it’s reducing costs or putting together a small program that does good for the community and everyone benefits. That’s also an amazing feeling.”

What is your proudest public health moment and why?

“One of my proudest moments is realizing I am really giving a voice/awareness to something important or that needs to be heard that could save lives. Now more than 4-5 times now I have people that come up to me at a booth or after an education and thank me for the work that I am doing because they have someone in their family or friends that they lost or is fighting hepatitis B or liver cancer now. They say how much would be different if people just knew and took the steps to protect themselves. Making a real difference in people’s lives is an incredible feeling.”

What has been your most challenging public health experience and why?

“Feeling like we could do more, that our hands are tied or that we could be more efficient. As a small organization, it often feels like there is only so much we can do or that if we had a little more money or attention we could change so much. Then I think whether I am thinking big enough or reaching out to the right partners and worry that I could be doing more.”

Why do you care about public health?

“I am one of those public health warriors that truly believes that with just a little more investment into public health we could change so much for the better. The Bang for Buck in public health is crazy huge and with a focus on preventative care we could not only benefit so many lives but save an incredible amount of money. American healthcare is so broken in so many ways and good public health is one great place to start fixing that.”

What is your public health story?

“I had always been interested in Asian American advocacy work since I was young and got introduced to the hepatitis B disparity as a high schooler. After some time considering being a physician, I saw my interest in public health and fixing the US healthcare system grow and grow. So after considering research and policy a bit I found myself really wanting to work on preventative care. So I got a degree in public health and public administration. I then worked for a healthcare consulting firm for a bit but jumped at the opportunity to work on hep B awareness and screening in my home community and have been doing that ever since.”

What public health advice would you like to give?

“We need more people in public health, we need people to be pushing for investment in it. A better public health system would have significantly improved our fight against COVID”

Instagram: @sfhepbfree

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