School of Medicine

Celebrating Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

As a University of California institution, we are honored to serve the state that nearly half of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) population in the United States call home. The heritage that we commemorate during this month consists of hundreds of years and multiple generations of diverse cultural experiences that traverse our country and indeed our entire world.

Dr. Haing S. Ngor holding an OscarOne such example of the resilience and community service that exemplify AANHPI heritage and history is Haing S. Ngor, MD. Dr. Ngor was a Cambodian gynecologist who escaped Cambodia during the devastating Cambodian genocide of the 1970s, entering the United States as a refugee in 1980.

After a chance encounter with a Hollywood casting agent at a wedding, Haing was cast in the film “The Killing Fields.” Despite having no formal acting training, he won the 1984 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, making him the only Asian actor to ever win the award.

Until his death in 1996, Dr. Ngor used the social platform created by his acting career to spread international awareness of the human rights violations that were committed during the Cambodian genocide. In the face of unthinkable adversity, not only was he able to recover and rebuild, but he also sought to do everything in his power to help others do the same.

At the UCI School of Medicine, we appreciate the continuing impact of our colleagues who are forging innovative paths in the service of our AANHPI communities.

AANHPI Heritage Month 2022