Family Medical Center of Michigan: Daughter Follows Father into Career of Medicine

TEMPERANCE, Mich. – Ten years ago, Authority Health launched its teaching health center and recruited community physicians willing to serve as preceptors for incoming residents. Dr. Sin Ching Chiu, who worked at Family Health Center on Lewis Avenue, enjoyed teaching and thought it would be mutually beneficial to have residents working under his direction.

“I thought it would be a good idea for us to precept family practice residents,” Chiu said in a written statement. “In our area, there are lot of interesting cases that they can learn from.”

Chiu learned that firsthand as a third-year family practice resident in a rural health rotation at the Family Health Center.

He said it wasn’t the diseases that challenged him, but the underlying factors that influenced patients – known today as the “social determinants of health.” It’s a “really challenging, difficult environment” because of this.

Currently serving as medical director of Family Health Center, Chiu likes teaching because he learns new ideas coming out of medical school while sharing techniques he has developed in practice.

When working with residents, Chiu will advise them “to look at the whole well-being of the person.”

“It’s not just the physical being. It’s the underlying medical and economic situation. If you understand their background, then you can understand why there is a pathological disease,” he said.

He offered the same instruction to one of his three daughters, Nathaline Chiu, who decided to carry on the family legacy as a physician.

The 35-year-old shadowed her father, learning to be patient, kind, and an engaging educator. As a physician, she wants to ensure her patients understand their diagnosis and treatment plan.

Following medical school, Nathaline received a master’s degree in public health. When looking for a residency program, she decided on Authority Health because it offered a certificate in population health from the University of Michigan School of Public Health. She became chief resident of family medicine at Authority Health in Detroit and completed her residency training this year.

“I really wanted the opportunity to delve into the population aspect of family medicine,” she said in an email. “I feel that to be able to care for the patient you have to understand the environment that they grew up in and the factors that influence their health from the past to their present. That population health aspect and looking at the patient holistically would help me be a better physician.

“Right now, I am most looking forward to being the sole provider of my patients and also being able to collaborate with my colleagues on various patient cases. I am also looking forward to possibly being a mentor to the next generation of physicians.”

Although she is not a mother at the moment, Nathaline said she would like to see her children work in the medical field and continue the family legacy.

“I would like my children to work in population health or in the medical field (not necessarily a doctor) because I may be biased but I think that is where they can contribute the most to the world,” she said. “I want them to learn to be compassionate towards others and be culturally competent. However, ultimately I want my children to be happy and to do what they are most passionate about.”

In September, Nathaline will be working with Lutheran Medical Group in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Her father will continue to work as a family medical specialist in Temperance.

–Courtesy of Family Medical Center of Michigan (Editor’s note: This story also appeared in the Monroe Evening News; photo provided.)