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Dr. Madeline Chung

$60,000.00 (raised so far)

About Dr. Madeline Chung

Dr. Madeline Huang Chung was born in Shanghai, China July 3, 1925 and, after living gracefully with dementia for several years, passed away peacefully at home in her sleep August 22, 2021 at the age of 96. She lived a full and eventful life as a loving, dedicated family member, a wife, mother and grandmother, as well as a trail blazing female physician.

Dr. Chung graduated from Yale in China in 1948 and came to Canada to complete her studies shortly after Canada repealed the China Immigration Act in 1947. After interning in Victoria and Montreal (where she met her husband Dr. Wallace Chung) she entered a 4 year residency at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, finishing her training as Chief Resident.

The couple married in 1953 and moved to Vancouver where she established a solo practice in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Vancouver General Hospital and the old Grace Hospital. At the time, she was the first female Obstetrician and Gynecologist as well as the first of Chinese descent in BC. She faced significant discrimination because of her sex and her ethnicity from the established staff and faculty as well as the community. When she tried to open an office, she was denied a loan by the bank as it was assumed that she would quit work and have children.

Despite opposition, she became highly successful as patients, especially new Chinese speaking immigrants, flocked to her practice. She was popular among medical students and residents because of her dedication to teaching, in spite of initially being denied an academic appointment. Over a long career from 1956-1992 she delivered 7,226 babies. Some of those she delivered were the babies of those she had already delivered, all members of an unofficial club of the Chung Babies. She retired as an Emeritus Professor after a new Head recognized the injustice of her having been denied promotion for most of her career.

Her initial life in China was relatively easy as the eldest daughter of a government member, but her teenage years proved tumultuous. She spent WWII as a refugee in the countryside around Hong Kong, after the city fell to the Japanese army. As a young teenager, she would search for food and shelter for her injured mother and her 2 younger sisters. The suffering she encountered, as well as her deep Christian faith, motivated her to try and help those in need whenever she could. This included instances such as welcoming a newly arrived refugee Chinese family into her home to stay, and taking a recently arrived, recently diagnosed cancer patient under her wing when she found they had no local support.

She was equally involved in the community as a volunteer. She was very active in the Chinese United Church, later serving as a Board Member and Chair. She also helped to found the Chinese language True Light School which is still exists today. For her dedication, she was made an Honorary Life Member of the Canadian Medical Association in 1993 and received a Civic Merit Award from the City of Vancouver in 2013. She was always very humble and never sought recognition, being happy as long as she was not hindered from doing what she loved.

Post retirement, she most enjoyed being a Gumma to her 5 grandchildren, travelling extensively, gardening, and continuing with her volunteer work, including with EMAS, the Evangelical Medical Aid Society.

She leaves to mourn her husband, partner and best friend of 68 + years, Dr. Wallace B. Chung, her daughter Dr. Maria Chung (Peter Munk), son Dr. Stephen Chung (Gail Chung), her grandchildren Charlotte, Eleanor and Sophie Munk and Julia and Kevin Chung, as well as a sister Dolores Dong, and many, many extended family and friends. She was predeceased by her sister Peggy Moy.

To hear her in her own words listen to a recording done for the Chinese Canadian Women project of the Multicultural History Society of Ontario  https://mhso.ca/chinesecanadianwomen/en/database.php?c=43

A heartful thank you to her wonderful family physician, Dr. Cindy Chang, who was always there when needed, and mom’s devoted caregivers Reyna and Shirley without whom we would not have been able to fulfill mom’s wishes to remain at home. Bless you.

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The impact of your support

The UBC Faculty of Medicine acknowledges Madeline’s unwavering strength and persistence as she faced countless inequitable barriers as the province’s first female Obstetrician. Through overcoming these struggles, she remained committed to serving the underserved with the utmost compassion as a pioneer for women’s health advocacy–now a core component of UBC’s Obstetrics and Gynaecological training program, where Madeline is a role model to Faculty and residents.

To honour Dr. Chung’s life and accomplishments, her friends and family will be establishing the Dr. Madeline Chung Memorial Award in Obstetrics & Gynaecology. Your gift will pay tribute to her life by supporting students following in her footsteps at UBC. This Award will recognize outstanding third and fourth year medical residents in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology. Recipients will have demonstrated a commitment in women’s health advocacy by improving the care of women from underserved or marginalized populations through clinical service, research or scholarly work.

List of Donors
  • Peter Eng

  • Dr. Wallace B. Chung

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