JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
The Department of Defense celebrates Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May, acknowledging the contributions of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders in defending America's freedom. Being recognized by Naval Medical Research Unit, or NAMRU, San Antonio is Dr. Heuy-Ching Hetty Wang, director, Combat Casualty Care and Operational Medicine.
Wang, a native of Taichung, Taiwan, supervises 37 staff members who perform cutting-edge research that addresses the immediate needs of the warfighter on the battlefield.
Earning her doctorate from Clemson University, Wang has been serving as a Navy civilian for approximately three years. Prior to joining NAMRU San Antonio, she served with the U.S. Army Medical Research Detachment at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, or USAISR.
According to Wang, she always wanted to work for the Navy.
“The Navy has provided a platform for me to apply my focused knowledge, skills and abilities,” said Wang, who serves as the first Asian-American director at NAMRU San Antonio. “I wanted to be part of a team that makes changes necessary to support our Naval Forces Operational Medicine requirements.”
NAMRU San Antonio’s mission is to conduct gap-driven research to improve the survival, operational readiness, and safety of DOD personnel engaged in routine and expeditionary operations.
“The mission is very important to me,” Wang said. “As the director of Combat Casualty Care and Operational Medicine, I am entrusted to lead a team of talented and motivated scientists to transition promising medical solutions from the laboratory toward the clinic for the benefit of our service members and the American public.”
Wang, who enjoys vegetable gardening, making kombucha, hiking, and playing piano, is the youngest child of six.
“My dad is a physician who has most influenced my life,” said Wang, an active member of the Taiwanese American Association and Tzu Chi USA, a humanitarian organization whose mission is to relieve the suffering of those in need and to create a better world for all.
“Under his influence, I have set my heart on becoming a medical researcher to study the causes and cures of diseases from a young age,” she added. “I have worked hard and achieved that goal.”
Wang’s personal goals are to be persistent despite obstacles, learn to accept her limits, and learn healthy ways to cope with stress.
“In general, women supervisors are often called out for being abrasive or bossy when the same qualities would be praised as assertive or confident in men,” Wang said. “Over the years, I have learned how to overcome stereotype challenges and have been an effective manager.”
“I am a patient and dedicated person,” Wang added. “My patience and persistence have allowed me to remain calm to meet my goals despite outside pressures or setbacks.”
According to Dr. Sylvain Cardin, NAMRU San Antonio’s chief science director, Wang is a very valuable asset within the command for her expertise and leadership style which allows her directorate to develop fully and achieve new heights.
“I am proud and honored to be working with her every day,” Cardin said. “Her can-do attitude is contagious and for all these reasons NAMRU San Antonio is privileged to count Dr. Wang as one of ours. She works very hard to ensure the military and civilian members received the best new technologies possible.”
NAMRU San Antonio is one of the leading research and development laboratories for the U.S. Navy under the Department of Defense and is one of eight subordinate research commands in the global network of laboratories operating under the Naval Medical Research Center in Silver Spring, Maryland.