Roger Chiu, a long-time fixture at International Community Health Services (ICHS), has decided to retire this month after 38 years of dedicated service as ICHS laboratory manager and medical technician. He will be moving to Irvine, California to live closer to his son and daughter and their families.
Chiu, a modest, low-key individual, started at ICHS in 1980 right after he graduated from Seattle University’s medical technology program. At the time, ICHS was located in a storefront on Maynard Avenue, across from Hing Hay Park. Bruce Miyahara was the executive director. Chiu’s first job title was medical technologist.
“ICHS was very small, Chiu said. “The lab was on the first floor. It was a tiny space, only room for one person. I was the only one there.”
Chiu said ICHS has gone through a remarkable transformation. When he started his job, the agency only had about 30 employees. “At first, we only used paper,” he said. “In 2005, ICHS purchased NextGen software. We began putting the lab results into our Laboratory Information System, which interfaced with the software. The providers could see results right away. That made a big difference.”
Chiu, 64, said he enjoyed being able to spend his entire career at ICHS. “I liked my job because I got to work with other laboratory staff and use my skills to benefit our patients. I got to work in the lab, work with others at ICHS and interact with patients. That was a good mix.”
Some ICHS patients would specifically ask for Chiu to do their lab tests. “Some of our patients I know them from when they were just a little baby and now they are much taller than me now,” he said “It’s my privilege to serve them.”
Chiu said he will miss his co-workers. “They are just like my family,” he said. “We laughed and argued just like one. Actually I spent more time with them than with my biological family.”
ICHS CEO Teresita Batayola described Chiu as a “pillar” and “part of the foundational fabric” of ICHS. “He helped bolster our staff’s spirits and well-being over the years with his unassuming good nature, humor and deep caring. We are so grateful for all these years.”