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Far From Home, But in Good Hands

The 18-year-old Mr. Yan had come from China to study in the United States when he started feeling weak, uncomfortable and feverish. When his fever wouldn’t go away, he went to The Johns Hopkins Hospital for a checkup. It was there that our physicians diagnosed Mr. Yan with lymphoma — a type of blood cancer.

Throughout his diagnosis and treatment, Mr. Yan was in and out of the hospital half-a-dozen times, and although he had family in the area, he says he felt lonely early in his experience. Then we paired him with Virginia Fung, his international care coordinator and steadfast advocate.

“Chinese culture is more than language,” Virginia says. “Because I understood this young man’s culture, I knew how to represent him.”

Not only was Mr. Yan in great clinical hands, he had the backing of a kind, supportive care team: “I felt comfort in my heart,” he says. You can watch Mr. Yan’s story, which highlights how Johns Hopkins focuses on patients, not on the diseases or conditions they have.

We know there is a direct and influential relationship between a patient’s culture and his or her health and approach to health care. To provide the best possible medical services, we help educate and inform patients — in their own language — about the specifics of their disease, treatment options, the latest research and what to expect in a U.S. health care setting. And we hire caring, dedicated professionals who provide culturally competent care for international patients who travel to our doors for treatment.

We are with our patients and their families throughout their stay, taking into account not only medical needs, but also individual preferences and cultural expectations so they can focus on what’s most important: their recovery and health.


Katherine DeRuggiero

Vice President, Patient Services Kathy DeRuggiero is vice president of patient services for Johns Hopkins Medicine International. She collaborates across Johns Hopkins Medicine to ensure diverse patient populations from the United States and abroad receive quality care before, during and after their visit to Johns Hopkins. Click here to learn more about Kathy.

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