Born in the city of  Guangdong, Kaiping China, Wayne Tan, OD ‘21, ‘22Resident, immigrated to Baltimore, Maryland when he was 10 years old.

“Both my parents did not have much formal education growing up in communist China,” saidDr. Wayne Tan Dr. Tan. “My father had some elementary school education, the most my mother had was middle school. They had to quit school to work and put food on the table. I thank God we were able to come to the United States and afforded this opportunity. There were a lot of sacrifices we had to make coming here, with my parents making the biggest sacrifice.”

Coming to America at 10 was challenging for Dr. Tan as he had to assimilate to a whole new culture. “It was interesting to navigate day to day life at school not speaking any English, just following gestures. I met a very kind gentleman who spent a lot of time after school teaching me English. I thank God I was able to adjust,” said Dr. Tan.

After graduating from Towson University in Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in biology, he worked in a research lab for six months but didn’t like that since he didn’t have any human interaction. He then found a job with a retina specialist where he worked for three years. During that time, he grew to love eyes, working in medicine and working with people.

In 2016, he also did a missionary trip to Kyrgyzstan in central Asia working with the nurses and students there for CPR and basic medical training.

The culmination of working with a retina specialist and working with medicine on his missionary trip - optometry seemed like the perfect profession for him. He applied to a few places but the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) at Salus was his first choice as a result of its close proximity to his family. “Family is important to me, as an only child I wanted to stay close to my mom and dad. In Chinese tradition, it falls on the children to look after the parents,” he said.

After graduating from PCO/Salus, Dr. Tan wanted to continue his education with a residency because he loves teaching. Being in an academic setting is really his interest. He was part of the PCO/Salus mentoring program as both mentee and a mentor and also spent time tutoring certain subjects.

“Even before coming to Salus I’ve always had an affinity for teaching. I used to teach Sunday School. Even as a student here, moments where I got to partake in teaching were very special to me,” he said. “It felt right to do a residency, to be part of the academia here, as I could see myself teaching in the future.”

He said faculty have always been very approachable, making the transition to residency pretty smooth. “Salus has been my home here for four years and that hasn’t changed although it is a little strange calling the faculty my colleagues,” he said.
 
Next up - Dr. Tan is engaged to an optometrist who also went to PCO/Salus, class of 2017, and is now practicing optometry in Northern Virginia They set a date for their wedding, Sept. 3, 2022, Labor Day weekend, which is also his birthday. “I’m very forgetful with important dates,” he said, “so I agreed to that date so that I would never forget it.”