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Q&A with Davyd Chung, PhD, Asian Healthcare Leaders Forum (AHLF) Chicago Liaison

Dr. Davyd Chung chats with Tiara Muse of CHEF’s Communications Committee to discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion and his involvement in ACHE’s Asian Healthcare Leaders Forum (AHLF).          

Davyd W. Chung, PhD, is the Executive Director of Research and Strategic Operations for the University of Illinois (UI) Cancer Center located in Chicago. He provides vision and organization towards cancer research and strategic initiatives and overall program alignment with local and national priorities. He also develops and implements outcome?based and impact?driven models to improve social cancer outcomes in the community. He leads efforts on partnering with the pharmaceutical industry to increase clinical trials, projects around health disparities and patient experience, collaborations with oncologists, and diverse patient participation. He is responsible for creating the UIC CanResearch Fellowship, which is the first cancer research training program for college students with disabilities, and the UIC Asian American Cancer Initiative, to increase cancer screening awareness and improve health outcomes by Asian subgroups. Prior to joining UI Cancer Center, he served in various roles at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including as a Program Director at the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities and Program Officer at the National Children’s Study, leading the operations of a national, multi-site, longitudinal study. He also has experience as an entrepreneur for a biomedical start-up company developed out of the University of Illinois Incubator Program. He received his Doctorate in Physiological Molecular Biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is helping lead, locally and nationally, the Asian Healthcare Leaders Forum through the American College of Health Executives (ACHE) to increase Asian American representation in healthcare.

What are the current aims of the Asian Healthcare Leaders Forum (AHLF)?

Through AHLF, our aims are to increase representation of Asian Americans in healthcare leadership, executive management, policy, and administration and to support the professional growth of individuals interested or working in the health sector starting from the college level and up. We hope through a mentoring pilot program, culturally appropriate educational and networking events, webinars, quarterly newsletters, and a growing network of health professionals who share the same passions that we can bring more people in the Chicago area together. Working together and partnering with CHEF will be critical in achieving these aims.

There has been increased discussion around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I). What DE&I challenges have you discovered in your conversations with either executives, patients, and/or students of Asian descent? Help us better understand current issues as well as opportunities.

The Asian American population is the fastest-growing ethnic group in the US, including more than 70% who are immigrants and around 50 countries with unique languages and cultures representing this group. So, there is tremendous diversity within this ethnic group, which can provide a lot of good opportunities but also some challenges. Some of the more common comments and challenges around DE&I that I have encountered are that Asians are not really part of the conversation or considered within that space, access to mentorship opportunities, and lack of representation in healthcare leadership positions. However, most people in general can probably relate to one or all of these challenges, so it’s exciting to see multiple diversity forums being supported by ACHE and CHEF. One important opportunity is how do we do a better job of directly connecting an increase in workforce/executive management diversity to an increase in health equity for patients and the community.

How can CHEF members get involved with AHLF?

If members are interested in joining, want to learn more, or even help lead efforts with AHLF, then they can contact me (Davyd Chung – directly. You don’t have to identify as an Asian American to be involved but can simply have an interest in supporting these efforts or would like to benefit from the forum itself.


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