Dr. Maoxin Wu, a clinical professor in the Department of Pathology at the Stony Brook University School of Medicine, is a member of United University Professions. Wu also serves as chief of cytopathology for Stony Brook University Hospital.
1. What made you decide to join UUP?
I am a medical professional who worked in other private medical centers and recently joined Stony Brook University Health System; UUP is a new concept for me. I took an oath to save lives and to do whatever it takes to honor this "MD" next to my name.
When UUP was introduced to me, I realized I am also an individual who should have the right to personal well-being. If I am not well, it could be difficult to help others. For this reason, I joined UUP.
2. Is it difficult for some medical doctors and scientists to think of themselves as unionists? If so, what would you say to them to bridge that gap in perception?
Yes. It is difficult to think of ourselves as unionists because we have been trained to put the needs of others above our own needs at the professional level. I would say to them that it is still professional to join UUP. Once we know that our personal well-being and benefits are protected we should be able to excel in our professional jobs.
3. You have done research on the lung ailments of people who worked at the World Trade Center, including firefighters and rescue workers. Many of them were members of public employee unions. When you see the industrial hazards some people face, does that make a case for the protections and benefits unions can offer?
People should have been warned about and protected from environmental hazards such as the WTC dust and smoke. I feel strongly that affordable health care would be a great benefit to anyone, especially to those who expose themselves to hazards during their jobs or duties.
4. What have been some of the benefits of union membership for you?
The most noticeable benefits are the vision and dental health care offered by UUP. Other activities, such as celebrations of cultural diversity and our chapter's annual cookout, are great ways to rejuvenate and connect our members.
5. You are on the clinical faculty and staff of a public hospital, which is staffed by union members. What are some of the special missions of public hospitals, and how do those missions tie in with union values?
As a medical director of a section of a public hospital, I am involved in keeping the staff happy and carrying out duties to achieve the missions of a public hospital. My daily mission is to maintain a good balance between these two elements.
The benefits and protections provided to the union members help them in their job performance, and help the hospital to achieve its special mission of providing the best care possible to patients.