On July 17, 2023, surrounded by his loving family, Lawrence Chi Chuen Cheung, a devoted husband, father, and esteemed dermatologist, passed away peacefully at his home in San Francisco after a courageous battle with esophageal cancer. He was 51 years old.
Lawrence will forever be remembered by all who knew him as a beacon of optimism, a generous soul, and a man with a quick wit that brightened the lives of those around him. His unwavering devotion to his family, dermatology practice, and public health advocacy left an indelible mark on the lives of countless individuals.
Lawrence was born on July 14, 1972, in Hong Kong to Helena and Eddie Cheung and was the beloved older brother of Sunny Cheung. The family moved to New Jersey during Lawrence's elementary school years, and he pursued his education with fervor, graduating salutatorian from Millburn High School, Magna Cum Laude from Harvard University, and completing his Doctorate of Medicine at Columbia Medical School. His passion for public health took root during his medical school days when he actively contributed to starting Columbia’s first course on cultural diversity in medicine and became the first National President of the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA).
Lawrence met the love of his life, Angela Wong in Philadelphia during the first National APAMSA conference. They were married in 1999 and were blessed with twins, Amelia and Aidan, in 2009. Always following his heart, he left internal medicine residency and decided to focus on dermatology, his true clinical passion. He completed a psoriasis research fellowship and served as Co-Chief Resident of his Dermatology program at Washington University in St. Louis. Returning to San Francisco after his residency, Lawrence established a thriving solo dermatology practice, where he specialized in the care of patients with psoriasis and eczema, including running clinical trials and a phototherapy unit.
Throughout his career, Lawrence was dedicated to and actively engaged in public health advocacy. He remained committed to serving underserved populations by working in the indigent clinic at St. Mary’s and establishing the tele-dermatology service for Asian Health Services. He was proud to hold numerous positions, including President of the San Francisco Marin Medical Society, Commissioner for the San Francisco Health Authority, and Vice Speaker of the California Medical Association. He played a pivotal role in initiating the successful soda tax initiative in San Francisco and courageously fought against big tobacco with the ban on flavored tobacco products.
Despite his busy clinical practice and public advocacy work – he was always able to make time to spend with his family. A passionate amateur gourmet chef, he delighted in preparing breakfasts and dinners for Angela and their children. He embraced life's simple joys, engaging in activities like playing tennis, pickleball, singing duets with Amelia, and building Legos and playing Magic the Gathering with the kids.
In honoring Lawrence's legacy, the family requests that, in lieu of flowers or gifts, donations be made in his memory to the following charities:
The American Medical Association’s Physicians of Tomorrow Scholarship Fund:
The AMA plans on designating a scholarship in honor of Lawrence and we have requested that it be directed to support medical students who have shown a passion for public health advocacy work and organized medicine.
The Young Women’s Choral Projects:
Lawrence loved music of all forms, but as a former member of the Harvard Glee Club, he held a particular fondness for vocal music. He served as a board member for YWCP, supporting its goal to transform the lives of young women through exceptional artistry in choral performance.
Per Lawrence’s request, there will be no funeral or memorial services. We know he will be missed dearly by many friends, patients, students, mentors and colleagues and we invite you to honor him here at this memorial site where we can all share stories, photos, and remembrances.
Lawrence Chi Chuen Cheung touched the lives of countless individuals, leaving behind a legacy of compassion, dedication, and a commitment to making the world a better place.