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Jun 20, 2022

Jason Wong Helps Fund Strapped Medical Students

This young pharmacist/professor/foundation chair takes multi-tasking to another tier

By Ed Goldman

It would be appropriate punishment to force anyone who thinks Millennials are a lazier-than-thou cohort to spend a week shadowing Jason Wong.  

Wong, a member of the aforementioned Generation Y, is a Doctor of Pharmacy and a professor of same at the California Northstate University College of Medicine. Opened in 2008, it’s a private for-profit school in the city of Elk Grove, which is about 16 miles from Sacramento. It’s hoping to relocate to the site of the former Arco Arena, where the NBA’s Sacramento Kings occasionally won a game, in the capital’s North Natomas area. But a few details like funding, permits, design and construction need to be completed, so don’t expect anyone to ask that you ‘scuse their dust for a while.  

Jason Wong. Photo by Edgy.

In the meantime, Wong, a practicing pharmacist at the Sutter Center for psychiatry, serves as the volunteer-board chairman of the Northern California Education Foundation, which raises money to provide scholarships for students hoping to attend Northstate U (where Wong got his PharmD degree).

But wait! There’s more!

Wong is also a composer whose music you can sample online at Jason Y Wong Piano. You’ll need to already have or open a Spotify account, but I assure you it’s worth it. He plays with grace and maturity.

In addition, he’s an aspiring writer of mythological (or maybe metaphysical) stories for young (or maybe young-at-heart) readers.

Yet what may be the most impressive feat of this 36-year-old wunderkind is that he and his wife Xulin (pronounced Shoo-lin) Chen—a doctor of entomology who works for the medical monolith Bayer Corporation—have found the time to create a son. Charles is barely a year old but, given his parents’ penchant for overachievement, I suspect he’s already at work on an advanced degree in something.

“Actually, I always wanted to be an architect,” Wong says with a broad grin over lunch at The Sutter Club in downtown Sacramento, where Wong’s foundation will hold a fundraising gala this fall. “But I wanted to make a difference in the world through healing. So I thought I’d become a medical doctor then found that the path to becoming a doctor of pharmacy was a bit shorter.” 

Yes, but action-packed: along the way, Wong had a residency in Bronx, New York (where I lived the first eight years of my storied life) and got a teaching certificate at Touro College of Pharmacy in Harlem, New York (where I’d spent the first 48 hours of that storied life). After a first-year residency, he says, “I narrowed my focus to psychiatric pharmacy” and completed his residency at Yale-New Haven Psychiatric Hospital. 

All of this prepped him for work in San Francisco’s Department of Public Health, where he spent three years serving patients who spoke only Chinese; he’s fluent in Cantonese and Mandarin.

So! As an executive summary, Jason Wong, who’s also a musician and writer, has attended Yale and lived and worked in New York City and San Francisco. Please take a moment for a well-needed rest period. I’ll get out the mats and juice cartons.

“I guess it does sound kind of overwhelming how much I’ve already done,” he says as he tucks into a steak sandwich, “but it doesn’t even compare with the things I want to do.”

Among those are increasing the endowment of his foundation to $3 million (it’s now at $1.2 million). If you’re interested in donating or just gleaning more info about it, you can visit ncef-ca.org. It’s a nifty website. Need I mention who created it?

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Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).