Our Medelita H.I.P. (Honoring Inspiring Professionals) Program is one of the many ways we connect with people who truly love the Medelita brand and the values that we stand for: supporting the development of medical professionals, particularly for women in medicine; giving back to our community; and spreading integrity, kindness, and respect.
Aleah Chang is one such individual. Whether she's working hard, blogging about medicine, or expressing her creative side on Instagram, this allopathic medical student stands out as a true leader to her peers and a compassionate caregiver for her patients.
What is the most important thing for someone to know about your job?
Medicine is a field that allows you to see a patient’s most personal, intimate moments. From helping deliver their child to breaking news about cancer, medicine is incredibly raw. These moments can impact a caregiver in a way that makes you question your values, spirituality and relationships. Being a medical provider demands emotional strength, in addition to intellectual strength. The beginning of your journey into medicine will test your emotional intelligence and ability to adapt around each corner, but as time persists you will gain so much from each patient you care for. I often think that I get more out of the relationship than my patients do, because they each have something unique to offer. These interactions are what makes the “emotional turmoil” worth it.
What first drew you to a career in medicine?
I have always known I wanted to have a career that allowed me to interact with others on a daily basis. I enjoy being in a fast-paced environment and working within a team. In high school I took an anatomy course and knew I had to learn more about the human body! When I started to learn anatomy I realized how empowering it is to know how the human body functions. I also realized that medicine is a field that never stops changing and one in which you must always be learning. I knew myself pretty well during college and knew that I’d get bored with a field that you had a finite amount of things to learn. All medical providers are lifelong learners (whether they like it or not) because medicine is constantly making advancements. As I have gotten further into this field I have seen how many paths you can take. You are not by any means limited to just practicing as a doctor. You can teach, write books, start a company, or lead a hospital. The possibilities really are limitless and that is another aspect of medicine that is really attractive.
What words of advice would you share with someone who is considering your career choice?
I would tell someone considering a medical career that medicine isn’t just for the “elite” or top of the class type students. Medicine is definitely a difficult field to enter, but with hard work and belief in yourself, you can make it! Having said that, it is normal to doubt yourself at times and feel inadequate. I feel like that often! But, that shouldn’t stop you from pushing forward towards your goals and reorienting your thinking!
When you’re not working, how do you spend your free time?
I enjoy spending time with my fiancé and puppy! I’ve been having some fun with photography, gardening and cooking lately as well. I’m a new homeowner so much of my free time goes towards working on our home! Recently, we have built a raised garden bed and are demoing our fireplace. When I’m super stressed I enjoy reading a good book or binging on my favorite Netflix series.
If you weren’t in medicine, what do you think you would have been?
I think nutrition and public health are amazing fields and would love to learn more about both. In my dream life I’d be the next Joanna Gaines or a character on Grey’s Anatomy!
What is a fact that most people don’t know about you?
I used to be a “diet clerk” (aka I delivered food to patients) at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in high school! This was my first health related job and I always go out of my way now to be extra nice to the folks delivering food at the hospital because I know I was once in their position!
Complete the sentence: “I feel most powerful when________.”
I feel most powerful when I’m surrounded by people who love and support me. My support system is everything to me. I owe so many of my triumphs to their unwavering belief in me. Throughout college and medical school, it is vital that you have a network of people who lift you up, challenge you and make you feel loved.
How would you describe your professional style?
I’d describe my style as comfortable and fun! I love bright colored dress pants and fun jewelry to spice up an outfit. I have some silly pins that I also add to my white coat and a fun badge clip! I am a strong believer in wearing things that make you feel good, whether that’s placing emphasis on fit, comfort or fashion. Professional style is incredibly important because (unfortunately) many professionals are judged by the first encounter. I’d like my professional style to reflect my character as much as possible.
What is your go-to professional outfit?
You can usually find me in J. Crew skinny cut dress pants and Coach flats paired with a fitting top and fun earrings! Pro tip: shop at the J.Crew outlet and TJMaxx for killer deals.
What are the most important things you look for when you’re shopping for new medical lab coats or scrubs?
I personally look first at finding a good fit. There is nothing worse than feeling uncomfortable in something you have to wear all day and treat patients in. In addition to fit I look for something that has a “fun” factor. For my Medelita apparel that is the ability to pick out custom embroidery! I also look for well-thought out structural aspects like pockets that fit an iPad mini or my stethoscope. I’m also a huge fan of items that are made of long-lasting, durable fabrics that don’t require dry cleaning!
What is your favorite Medelita product and why?
The Miranda B slim fit coat! Honestly, I was in shock when I tried this coat on for the first time. All of my white coats have been so boxy and bulky that I dread putting them on. As soon as I slipped the Miranda B on I felt powerful, beautiful and professional. I love how I feel in this coat and am looking forward to trying other designs in the future!
What is your favorite embroidery color for your lab coat?
I think the blossom color is darling! I ended up getting charcoal so that it would be more neutral, but hindsight I wish I would have taken the leap for something with more spunk!
Who has been the most influential female role model in your life or your career?
My aunt, is one of my biggest role models in my life. She is nothing short of incredible. She somehow manages to balance her relationship, two children and a high-power career at Google. She does all of this with joy, laughter and a free spirit. I envy her ability to be unapologetically herself. She inspired me to attend my alma mater, University of Michigan and to advocate for myself as a woman. She is definitely a no BS kind of person and I love that about her. She knows her worth within her field, but is able to stay incredibly humble simultaneously. Lastly, she is incredibly generous and has inspired me to hopefully start a scholarship fund in the future. She has always been my personal cheerleader in every aspect of my life and I can’t thank her enough for always being there for me!