After a series of odd jobs, she earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Lehman College, in New York City, in 2019. She’s a progressive care nurse at Elmhurst Health & Hospital in New York City, a job she started weeks before the first COVID-19 cases arrived.
Her workplace is in the heart of Queens, a borough known for a rich diversity of residents from Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania, and South and Central America.
“I feel like Elmhurst Hospital is the best example that one can have on how we all coexist together,” said Dechen, who says she’s been hearing of violence directed at Asian Americans, in particular an attack on an Asian American doctor.
Candid thoughts re: #StopAsianHate
No amount of inner fortitude will protect me against stupid, reckless behavior...— Austin Chiang, MD MPH (@AustinChiangMD) March 20, 2021
“Why would you attack a person, a single person, just because he's Asian American?” she asked. “How can you blame a pandemic on just one single person?? How can you show your angst and attack somebody like that?"
“Every day I realize how similar we are,” Dechen told VOA Tibetan. “Our elderlies, their needs … you see how much of a similarity there (is) ...in these different ethnicities."
Tien Tan Vo, 44, graduated from Ross University School of Medicine in the West Indies and is now medical director of VO Medical Center in California’s Imperial Valley, an agricultural area bordering Mexico.
He began treating COVID-19 patients last March, when he faced the most difficult days of the pandemic because “we didn’t have enough tests at that time.”
Patients wanted to be tested, and “they, of course, …(were) very anxious, (it’s) very, very frightening, they want to know the result right away. … (It’s) very, very stressful, very stressful …about the testing and the anxiety level of this pandemic.”
Vo, who was born in Vietnam’s Binh Dinh province, sent the tests to San Diego for processing and told patients they had to wait for the results.
He recalled walking out to the parking lot of his clinic to test one patient who was later diagnosed with COVID-19.