Champion Provider Success Story: Dr. Stephanie Chu Yoon

Dr. Stephanie Chu Yoon
A Strong Voice for Community Change

Dr. Stephanie Chu Yoon, who describes herself as someone who shies away from public speaking or anything to do with the press or politics, recently testified before the National City City Council. She spoke against a proposed fast food restaurant with a drive-thru to be built near an elementary school and future public housing development. During her testimony she spoke about her shock the first time she met an obese two-year-old child and her fear that obesity is becoming normalized.

“It is our job as medical providers to listen to our patients, identify community health needs, let community leaders know what those needs are and help those leaders to make decisions supporting the community’s health,” Dr. Yoon, a family physician, says.

Her dedication to improving the public’s health is why she became active in her community. “My commitment to helping patients live better does not stop in the clinic or hospital where I work. It means that I need to step outside my clinical role and try to improve upstream determinants of health – those fundamental factors that lead to problems down the road or help a person to be healthy.

The Champion Provider Fellowship gave Dr. Yoon the tools and support to become a voice for her community and connected her with like-minded physicians and dentists in the area.

“I’ve learned the importance of working “upstream,” and received tips and practice for public speaking and for telling my story to a larger audience.”

Dr. Stephanie Chu Yoon, San Diego County, Family Medicine

“Working with the local health department was easy. They notified me of the opportunity to testify before the city council, provided an overview of the issue at hand and answered my questions about local information and statistics.”

“Dr. Yoon is very passionate about improving community health, which was evident when she spoke to the city council,” says Adrienne Gilleran with the San Diego Health & Human Services Agency. “Local physicians are a strong complement to community engagement projects and the work we are doing to improve access to healthy food and physical activity.”

Although the city council eventually approved the fast food restaurant construction, Dr. Yoon’s testimony made an impression. One city councilmember voted against the proposal, saying “National City deserves better.” Dr. Yoon says, “Something I did not realize before is how much weight testimony from a physician carries.”