When Christina Pham, ARNP, was in college at UCLA, she volunteered at a community clinic and learned that liver diseases — such as liver cancer and hepatitis B and C — disproportionately affect Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs).
“That struck close to home for me,” says Christina, an advanced registered nurse practitioner at Virginia Mason. “Not only because my parents are from Vietnam, but also because community clinics are often the only health care resource for immigrant families like mine. I recognized a real need for more practitioners who can deliver quality liver care to patients no matter where they live or what facilities they have access to.”
The realization inspired Christina to specialize in helping patients with liver disease — she now works at Virginia Mason’s Liver Center — and to pursue ways to make our world-renowned care even better. Christina was recently awarded a prestigious fellowship from the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. The year-long fellowships help nurse practitioners and physician assistants get specialized training in caring for patients with liver conditions.
Christina will spend her fellowship year training under Virginia Mason’s Blaire Burman, MD, who is one of the nation’s top liver specialists. Christina will also help Dr. Burman conduct research on how to improve liver disease treatment.
“The AAPI community is the largest ethnic minority in Seattle, so there are a lot of people who need better liver care right here,” Christina says, “The fellowship is a very exciting opportunity for me to learn how to better care for those patients and, more broadly, be part of studies that could improve the recommendations for treating liver disease.”