Role model Winggo Pang

“Diversity is not just something you have to show, it's something you have to do”
6 minuten leestijd


“I am proud to be part of several communities,” says Winggo Pang, Medical Educator at the Teaching & Learning Center (TLC). He grew up in Antwerp; his parents are from Hong Kong. “I belong to the lhbtiq+ community, am Flemish and have Asian roots. I used to feel like the odd man out - Where do I belong? - , now I see myself as a citizen of the world, taking the best of all these different worlds.”
In Ghent, Winggo earned his master's degree in Medicine, he even graduated Magna Cum Laude. But in the continuing medical program in Internal Medicine, things went wrong. “In the penultimate year I suffered burnout. Long days, a lot of stress and studying on your own time. It was a lot, especially if you want to do it all well. The work culture during my specialist training didn't help either. Asking questions was not appreciated and there was hardly any room for your own input. Surely the workplace should be a safe place where curiosity and enthusiasm are valued? Where there is room to make mistakes and grow? In such a strongly hierarchical environment without any form of autonomy, I burned out completely.”
Mindfulness, conversations with a psychologist and patience helped him recover. “I recommend going to therapy to everyone. The new insights you gain, you take for the rest of your life.''

Winggo did not return to training as an internist, but started working within the field of Clinical Infectiology and Medical Microbiology. An international congress of the European Society for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) as well as a tournament of the Gay and Lesbian Tennis Alliance brought him to Amsterdam, a place where he soon felt at home. “A wonderful melting pot full of global citizens. This is where I could see myself living. And so I started looking for work there.”


Amsterdam UMC seemed like a great place for him to put his clinical experience to use. But in his search, another position caught his attention. Namely that of Medical Educator, at the time in 2019 still a brand new position within the TLC of Amsterdam UMC. “Education has always been close to my heart. At Ghent University, I served on various education boards and committees with the goal of improving education. As Medical Educator, I would focus on developing and delivering small-scale education and student supervision. Almost four years later, it still feels like the perfect match.”
“How and in what way something should be conveyed to the target audience, that's where we as Medical Educators are the specialists. By the way, you never do quality education alone. At the UvA's new master's in Medicine, my colleagues and I are creating new activating teaching methods for both self-study and contact education: knowledge clips, interactive videos, e-learnings, but also pub quizzes, escaperooms, serious games and virtual reality. Everything to best prepare future residents for the workplace, as full-fledged employees in the hospital. For example, in collaboration with the medical information science department, I developed an electronic patient record (EHR) education, so that students already learn during the teaching weeks how to acquire and process clinical information in a electronic health record. The next step is to also evaluate the education, preferably scientifically. I already have many ideas about this.”
The new master also has room for mental well-being. “An important topic, given the amount of burnout among students, physicians and interns. You can only take good care of your patient if you can also take good care of yourself. I have experienced that firsthand. I take this experience into teaching by creating a safe learning environment. An absolute condition for growth. I pass on to my students that they are here to learn, that there are no stupid questions nor answers and that a learning environment is the place to show your fallibility.”

Amsterdam UMC goes for diverse and inclusive. Where are the opportunities?

“When I had just started here, I still thought: diversity will be fine here. At my training in Belgium, people with different roots could be counted on two fingers. Here you see a nice mix of students. But now I know that even here there is still a lot of work to be done. Students with a migrant background still have less chance of study success or a career as a specialist, for example. And the teaching staff could use some more color. Despite the fact that there are already many great initiatives here around the theme of diversity, it sometimes feels a bit artificial. The role model project, for example, shows diversity, but does not contribute to a sustainable diversity policy as long as the organizational culture does not change with it. A separate page full of role models is not enough to give people, in all their diversity, the feeling in everyday situations that they are an equal part of an organization. Diversity should not only be shown, it should be done. Openness and curiosity about your fellow man will get you a long way. Ask questions and dive into the world of living and thinking of someone who is different from you.”

A good example of inclusive collaboration within Amsterdam UMC?

“The UvA created the Fair, Resilient & Inclusive Societies (FRIS) grant a few years back, to create and encourage an inclusive learning environment. I won such a grant with an idea inspired by the VU Mixed Classroom Education Model. That educational model is about raising awareness and then also leveraging individual differences to enrich the learning experience. With that grant, I hope to implement this model within the UvA's Master of Medicine program. So that students will soon have the right competencies to work with, and be able to provide care to people from diverse backgrounds. I also want to focus on teachers by integrating this model within the Basic Qualification Education program. Are they aware of the individual differences in their own groups? What do they need to create and foster an inclusive learning environment? The grant consists of 80 development hours through which I hope to develop my idea and integrate it into current teaching.”

Outside of work hours?

“Tennis, volleyball, basketball, yoga, languages on Duolingo, piano, ... I'm a real jack-of-all-trades. Especially sports make me happy. Mens sana in corpore sano after all, a healthy mind in a healthy body. In my opinion, tennis is the most complete sport. Not only do you have to be in good physical condition, there is also technique and tactics involved. And no matter how experienced you are, you keep learning. It's during a match that you really confront yourself. Perseverance, mental toughness, obstacles that you also have to overcome in real life. In the end, the match is not over until the last point is played.”

Do you have any questions for Winggo or would you like to know more about diversity & inclusion within Amsterdam UMC? Then email to

Text: Sophie Verschoor