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2014.036.001 Oral History Interview with Blanche Leung June 16, 2004

Blanche Leung, M.D., was born on April 16, 1970 in Queens, New York to immigrant parents from Hong Kong and Canton, China. She sits down to recount the immigration story of her parents, from when they left China as young children following the Communist changeover to their time in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Canada and the United States, where they ultimately settled in 1969. Her father was a pharmacist and her mother was a hematology lab manager. She talks extensively about the family pharmacy located on Lafayette and Walker Streets, which served as a focal point for the family. Blanche and her mother frequently went to assist at the pharmacy in addition to spending time in the Chinatown area for errands and extracurricular activities such as ping pong and Chinese School even though they lived in Elmhurst, Queens. Her childhood relationship with the Chinatown community and the New York Chinese community evolved when she became a medical professional and served as a liaison between Chinese patients and other hospital staff to improve the quality of care. She would later open a practice in Chinatown and describes the interactions she has with her Chinese patients. The interview conversation transitions from talking about Chinese-speaking patients and Chinese language medical resources to her experiences during and after the 9/11 attack. Blanche describes the emotional and physical impact on Chinatown following the terrorist attack in the context of her patient care, diagnosis, and medical requests in addition to the change in the street scene in the aftermath. She concludes the interview with answers to questions regarding Chinatown rebounding from 9/11 and her intentions to continue her medical practice in Chinatown amidst the ever-changing demographics and geography of Chinatown.