“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something I can do.” – Edward Everett Hale

I am Lester Y. Leung, M.D.

Medicine is my chosen profession, but it is only one of many applications for my abilities, proficiencies, and passions. I have always had a passion for expression, communication, and encouraging understanding among opposing sides differing in opinion and perspective. I have always been viewed by my peers as being a good listener, thoughtful and conscientious in response. I have found success as a leader and in the creation of various projects aimed at improving the fields I have entered. In pursuing medicine as a career, I hope to draw from my prior experiences, my newly developed skills, and my growing commitments to social justice through medicine, improving medical care and delivery, and encouraging greater dialogue between the medical field and the general public, our patients.

A few of my past projects and passions:

1000 Cranes, a non-profit one-man company that raised thousands of dollars for children’s cancer research through the sales of origami decorations. Founder.

The Free Thinkers Society, a national organization started in 1999 with local chapters in junior high and senior high schools designed to encourage discussion and community-building among students and teachers of various backgrounds and combat miscommunication, ignorance, and bigotry. Still going strong. Founder and co-leader for three years.

• The Pioneer, a high school literature magazine and the oldest regularly published literary magazine in Louisiana. Expanded the readership and the diversity of contributing writers. Editor for two years.

• The Harvard Tai Chi Tiger Crane Club, a martial arts club sport on the verge of death when I joined as a new student. Revitalized the organization, reconciled the leadership, reestablished negotiations with the university sports and central administration, and organized and choreographed performances. President and student-instructor for three years, member for four years, fifth generation student of Wong Fei Hung.

• The Next Generation, an online publication for premedical students designed to help students answer the question, “Why Medicine?” Collaborated with Editors of the New England Journal of Medicine and led a staff of Harvard undergraduates and contributors from other universities and medical schools. Founder and Editor-in-Chief for two years.

• My research project with the Airway Mechanobiology Lab led by Daniel Tschumperlin, Ph.D., at the Harvard School of Public Health. A year and a half of hard work and questioning led to a first author publication in FASEB, a poster presentation and discussion session at the American Thoracic Society meeting in 2006, and a dramatic changing of the lab’s areas of research to align more directly with the discoveries from my project. First experience as an independent researcher working directly with the principal investigator, giving me true ownership over the project.

Doctors Ought to Care, a national community health organization with local chapters at medical schools. The Tulane chapter was performing very poorly after losing its connections to local schools after Hurricane Katrina, giving me and my co-leader an opportunity to reestablish ties to local schools, build our education repertoire, and expand our project into other arenas outside schools (e.g. City Hall walking program, youth counseling, etc.). Program co-leader for one year.

Apollo, M.D., this journal and instrument of self-reflection. The primary intent of this journal is to help me chart my own progress and development through my medical training, and also to serve as a constant reminder of the areas I need to improve or mistakes I hope to avoid. In dispensing criticism, I point out the errors I make, had made, or suspect I would make. In offering praise, I identify achievements and goals to which I aspire. I hope to continue this journal through medical school, residency, fellowship, and perhaps even into my career, though other forms of writing might supersede this one. Nonetheless, I give thanks to my steady readership and hope to offer some insight or meaningful thought on the development of physicians and the realms in which we find purpose.

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