Wendy Sun will graduate on May 10 from the VCU School of Medicine. (Photo by Tom Kojcsich, University Marketing)

Class of 2019: Wendy Sun’s passion for medicine, engineering and inclusion leads to Yale

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Wendy Sun’s academic career has taken her from Toronto, Canada, and New York City to Richmond and the Dominican Republic. The Canada native has a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Columbia University and has helped lead a team of students in the VCU School of Medicine providing medical care to impoverished communities in the Dominican Republic.

Sun will participate in the Yale Emergency Medicine Residency Program after graduating from the VCU School of Medicine on May 10. The opportunity to practice a variety of skills, and problem solve in a team setting, while serving many populations, is what attracted Sun to emergency medicine.

“Emergency medicine physicians need to know a little bit about everything, but at the same time they  are experts at managing patients acutely,” Sun said. “I am in the place where I can help anyone, regardless of their socioeconomic, cultural and economic backgrounds.”

Her work in the Dominican Republic with the nonprofit Humanitarian Outreach Medical Brigade Relief Effort, a medical outreach organization of the VCU School of Medicine, exposed her to working with at-risk populations. She led efforts to coordinate scheduling in the HOMBRE clinic, serving patients with diabetes and hypertension.

Sun has a passion for diversity and inclusion, which extends to recruiting more women and minorities into the field of emergency medicine. She serves on the board of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine and helps determine the direction of resident and medical student programming for the society. Sun also created a diversity and inclusion subcommittee in the society to mentor minorities and women in emergency medicine.

Sun also uses her acumen for problem solving, teamwork and biomedical engineering to create devices to improve health care. Her love of medicine and building robots in high school inspired her to become a physician. As a participant in a VCU HealthHacks in her first year of medical school, Sun helped modify an ampoule — a capsule used to store medication. The modification simplifies and shortens the process for delivering a heart rate slowing medication to the heart. She holds a provisional patent for the device.

“We basically took a seven-step process and narrowed it down to a three-step process, and medication administrators would not have to gather as many materials,” Sun said. “The device can be used for many medications that must be administered quickly.”

Sun is currently preparing for her residency at Yale by participating in the VCU School of Medicine Capstone Week. The program refreshes practical clinical skills such as starting IVs and central lines. She is also catching up on local fun such as running on Belle Isle, visiting Colonial Williamsburg, taking a Segway tour of downtown Richmond and connecting with other graduates before the start of her residency.