Born in a refugee camp in Thailand, I was the third child of Vietnamese immigrants. When I was two years old, my family moved to Sarasota, Florida, where I grew up. Both my mother and father inspired me with their strength and resilience. I’m so grateful that they were able to move our family to the U.S. to start a new life with unlimited opportunities. My two sisters are wonderful people and my best friends. I was fortunate to be able to attend Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine and later to do my internship and internal medicine residency at the University of Colorado Denver.
Medicine was a natural career choice for me because I enjoy science, listening to people, and solving problems, Hospital medicine is a challenging specialty that involves complex problem-solving and diagnoses over a wide range of medical conditions. I did research on various issues affecting AIDS- and HIV-infected people, and this work was presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Geriatrics Society and the International AIDS Society Conference. This included ways to measure the effects of therapy as well as various problems facing elderly people with AIDS and HIV infection, such as falls, frailty, psychiatric disease, chronic pain, and poor quality of life. My research on these topics has been published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes and HIV/AIDS Clinical Trials. To stay current in my field and in medicine generally, I read medical journals, review Journal Watch, and use UpToDate – an online medical reference tool. I also attend conferences and participate in continuing medical education programs. I believe the Kaiser Permanente model of integrated health care is an effective and efficient model for patients and physicians alike. For this reason, I was happy to stay within the Kaiser Permanente system when I transferred to the Hawaii Permanente Medical Group from the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group. My philosophy of care is to treat patients as whole people, not just their diseases, and to develop relationships of mutual respect and understanding. I enjoy listening to patients and asking about their families, hobbies, and interests.
To stay balanced and fit, I exercise and try to remember to have fun! Just being outside on any of our beautiful islands, whether running, hiking, or swimming, is uplifting. Traveling also adds spice to my life.