Farewell Dr. Win: Arrowhead Arts to Honor a Mountain Legacy - Mountain News : News

Farewell Dr. Win: Arrowhead Arts to Honor a Mountain Legacy

by Angela Yap | Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2019 9:00 am

With 3,000 active patients, living a ‘perfect life’ as she described during at an exclusive interview, people are probably wondering why Dr. Win is leaving Lake Arrowhead and her loyal patients on the eve of her 20th anniversary?

“Being a physician leader, I have been an entrepreneur, a small business owner,” Dr. Win said. “I am not running away from anything; I am running to ‘work life’ balance.”

Dr. Win and her husband James moved to Lake Arrowhead in 1999 because they wanted to raise their children, Jason and Tamara, in a small community that offers many outdoor activities.

That summer, Dr. Win opened her private practice adjacent to the hospital and become an admitting physician on staff. This year, Dr. Win celebrates her 20th anniversary practicing medicine in Lake Arrowhead.

“It has been an honor to live in this dream place, Lake Arrowhead, and to practice medicine,” shared Dr. Win whose dream was to be to a country doctor and drive a Jeep.

Dr. Win become one of the most well-loved and popular doctors instantly. 

“Our loyal patients made Dr. Win,” James Win said.

“We feel that when we come to this community, we have to become the fabric of the community,” Dr. Win said. “I supported a lot of organizations over these 20 years.”

In fact, she was involved with Mountain Fifes and Drums, and supported Meals on Wheels, Rebuilding Together and many other non-profit organizations including Lake Arrowhead Classical Ballet production and Rotary’s Polar plunge fund raising event. 

Soroptimist International of Lake Arrowhead awarded Dr.Win “Making A Difference for Women” in 2007.

“Service is our family’s legacy,” Dr. Win said. “Like my mother being a political activist. She is an example of a servant leader.” 

Dr. Win is especially proud of her daughter Tamara who is in Guyana serving the community, and following her footsteps and legacy.

Born in Rangoon, Burma (Myanmar), Win’s family was forced to leave when she was 12 because of political pressure on her activist mother.

The United States was the logical place to migrate to as her father had obtained civil engineering degree from the University of Michigan.

Her new life in the US was not all smooth at the beginning since the family had to live on welfare for six months. Later the family settled in the San Gabriel Valley, and Win graduated from Alhambra High School.

She then attended California State University, Los Angeles. She and her boyfriend, James, then a computer operator, married when they were still teens.

“I made him promise me that he would put me through medical school,” Dr. Win recounted. “And when I got my medical degree, I retired him so our children could have a full-time parent.”

As a freshman in college, Win volunteered to work as a dietary aide in an Episcopal nursing home. 

“I quickly realized that medicine and religion are two professions that fit together perfectly,” Dr. Win said.

Win knew then the direction of her education and future. “Medicine has become my mission, my heart and soul,” said Win. “I fell in love with the elderly patients as I fed them with a spoon. I knew then that I wanted to practice geriatric medicine.”

In addition, Win also volunteered at the Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles. “There my interest broadened to all needy adults including women’s health,” said Dr. Win.

While working at Union Rescue Mission in downtown Los Angeles, one of her duties was to wash the homeless’ injured and dirty feet. “Like Jesus, I looked forward to washing the feet of the homeless,” shared Dr. Win.

Win decided she wanted to enter the University Of California at Los Angeles Drew School of Medicine because of its affiliation with the King Drew Medical Clinic in Watts and because that hospital’s mission coincided with hers “to serve the underserved with competence and compassion.”

After obtaining her Doctor of Medicine degree from UCLA, she completed two years of residency at University of Southern California, and the rest of her residency in Farmington, Connecticut because the University of Connecticut has a strong geriatric curriculum.

Returning to southern California, Dr. Win gained professional experience as a primary care provider. She joined the Talbert Medical Group in San Jacinto and later as a staff member at Hemet Valley Medical Center.

Despite her passionate feelings about medicine, Dr. Win said “I’m a mom first.” She spent many years home schooling her children while practicing medicine full time.

Another passion of Win’s is classical Burmese dance. In fact, she met James while she was teaching Burmese dance and James was a student.

So what triggered the latest career change?

“It all started with a friend recently asked me if I am having fun, and if I have a balanced life,” shared Dr. Win.

The conversation led her to apply for the physician position in a level 4 prison for inmates who are doing a life sentence.

“I find the prison setting intriguing,” said Dr. Win. She will join twelve other physicians at Soledad, a prison 15-minute drive north of Salinas.

“What attracted us the most is not about the money or benefits,” Dr. Win said. “It’s the balanced life and the freedom to travel with family.”

“I have been working about a 12-14 hour every day for 20 years sometimes more,” said Dr. Win. “This new job offers me a shorter work day from 7am-3pm, Monday to Friday with weekend off.”

Dr. Win is hosting a farewell party at the Mountains Community Hospital on Saturday, May 11 in the Rose Garden behind the hospital from 11 a.m. through 3 p.m. This farewell party offers an opportunity for friends and patients to say goodbye while they enjoy food and entertainment provided by Blue Jay Jazz. This Farewell party at the Mountains Community Hospital is free for the community. 

Later that evening, Dr. Win will be honored by Arrowhead Arts Association (AAA) at the Lake Arrowhead Country Club. 

Below is what is shared by some key members of the community:

“Dr. Win was the primary physician for both myself and Nancy for the last 20 years,” shared Ken Camarella of Arrowhead Arts Association.  “She learned of Arrowhead Arts Association from my discussing it with her during my patient visits. 

As a result, she enrolled her daughter Tamara into the String Program and also Jason.” Camarella shared that both children progressed very rapidly and were excellent performers. 

After high school, Tamara went on to the prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY to finish her degree in music with violin as her primary instrument. Jason is an avid guitarist. 

Over the years, not only has Dr. Win used the services of AAA for the musical education of her children, she also has attended most of the concerts and contributed funds to continue the success of AAA.  

“Dr. Win has been an important part of our medical community for many years. She has been an integral part of the health care for her patients, many of whom have become her friends. She has always cared for everyone with compassion and positivity. Her dedication and involvement in our community is well-known. Her departure will be a loss for the mountain and we will all miss her greatly,” said Charlie Harrison, administrator of Mountain Community Hospital.

Chris Levister, president of Blue Jay Jazz Foundation is also thankful for Dr. Win’s support in music and youth. 

“When asked to help an aspiring student who couldn’t afford to rent a music instrument, Dr. Win, a music education advocate, took a deep breath, flashed her signature shimmer and wrote a check,” shared Levister.  

“Today the Rim graduate teaches music to blind and visually impaired Minneapolis seniors. For more than 20 years, Dr. Win has dedicated herself to ensuring that local youth obtain every opportunity to fully realize his or her talents and gifts. She embodies the ideals that we can do more when we work together.”