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The Survivor: LoAn Nguyen, MD

Updated: Feb 6

Dr. LoAn Nguyen grew up in a very humble background in a small town of Dalat, Vietnam, during the Vietnam war. By good fortune, she was able to come to the United States as a young refugee at the end of April, 1975, three days before the Fall of Saigon.

After 5 months at 2 refugee camps, she started her undergraduate study at Juniata College (Huntingdon, PA). LoAn then spent her junior year abroad in France (Université Catholique de Lille). Following graduation in 1979, she delayed the pursuit of a medical career. Instead, she entered the doctoral program in chemistry at the Johns Hopkins University, where LoAn pursued biochemistry research for the following five years.

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In 1984, after completing her PhD, Dr. Nguyen joined the Medical Class of 1988 at the University of Maryland, school of Medicine to finally fulfill her dream of becoming a physician.

After receiving her MD, she started residency training at NY Stony Brook University Hospital to be with her husband, who was working for the Grumman Aerospace Cooperation at the time. She stayed an extra year as Chief Resident and Clinical Instructor.

Dr. Nguyen joined the Mid Atlantic Permanente Medical Group in July 1992 and had her dream career as a primary care physician for the following 27.5 years. Her passion was patient centered approach to care delivery not only for individual patients but also the patient population she served.

Dr. Nguyen’s Prescription for Success:

Number 1: Adversity has helped her realize her potential.

Number 2: Learning is a Journey.

Number 3: Have mentors or coaches.

Number 4: Keep your real family, and your work family in balance.

Connect with Dr. Nguyen

Notable quotes from Dr. Nguyen’s interview:

Adversity has helped me realize my potential that did not know that I had.
My first reaction was ‘How could I leave my family? I never even knew anything other than my family.”
Many were just wrapped themselves in a lot of blankets and just looks so sick and it touched me deeply. I don’t know why.
I don’t know what it was [The Doctor] just he has an aura of a God curing and helping people. And it came to my head at the end of the visit. I said to myself “I wonder what’s it’s like to do that kind of work.”
[My husband] said: “you know, it’s been your dream for so long if you don’t apply now that means never. And you always look back and say what if.
Having a mentor or mentors has been invaluable along my journey.
Keeping my two families in balance has allowed me to thrive.

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