Xiaoming Hu: The Future is Now
Who says the Starship Enterprise isn’t real? It delivered clinical social worker Xiaoming Hu to AHP! Deciding between studying medicine or counseling, Hu was inspired by Star Trek character Counselor Deanna Troi to attend UC Berkeley’s MSW program in Community Mental Health.
Hu, born in Si Chuan, China, grew up in Washington, D.C. and graduated from The George Washington University. “I took a chance,” he said, by moving across the country to fulfill his dream of living in San Francisco, “the gay capital of America.” Hu landed a position as a research assistant for the Substance Abuse Treatment Evaluation Project (SATE) here in San Francisco, followed by two years as a research assistant at the Stanford School of Medicine in Stanford, CA researching health care models for chronic health conditions. In these positions, Hu learned to recognize the role of mental health in wellness and, in particular, the ways in which mental health care could help to “fight oppression, racism and prejudice.”
After getting his MSW and completing two UCSF internships—one at AHP and one at Citywide—Hu was hired by AHP in October 2016 after an additional year of providing geriatric mental health services to Chinese immigrants at Family Service Agency of SF. Hu provides individual therapy, conducts clinical assessments and works shifts in AHP’s mental health crisis and triage services. “I like that I can be there for someone and help them feel more empowered about themselves.” The work, which Hu characterizes as an “honor,” allows him to truly embrace the words of Deanna Troi, particularly in individual therapy: “Experiences are unique to each person.”
Hu plans to complete the supervision hours required to attain a clinical social worker license (LCSW), but he says he values the process just as highly as the goal: “[I am] looking forward to gaining more experience and giving back to the community more.” AHP is a very supportive work environment, Hu says, adding that he is grateful to his caring and professional colleagues. And the feeling is mutual!