Dr. Nguyen has been as Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology at the University of Colorado for two years. Much of his work is as a cardiac electophysiologist specializing in cardiac rhythm disturbances.
1. What is your hometown?
Difficult to say. I was born in Saigon, Vietnam. I grew up in Vietnam, Malaysia, Germany, and the Bay Area, California.
2. How did you become interested in science and medicine?
As a high school student, I worked at NASA and wanted to explore the frontiers of space. This sparked my interest in science. Having come to the US as a refugee of war, I have been fortunate throughout my life with the opportunities given to me by the many people who have taken the time and energy in making me who I am. I felt that the best way I could give back to society and what has been invested in me was to go into medicine, where I could mentor young physicians, help patients at their most vulnerable times of their lives, and discover new treatments to improve health.
3. Why did you choose cardiology?
My mom had a heart condition that she was not able to be treated for when she was growing up in Vietnam. When she came to this country, it worsened and she had to undergo cardiac surgery. During that time, I was a medical student and got my hands on everything related to cardiology to learn about her condition and became very interested in cardiology thereafter.
4. What interested you to pursue a career as a cardiac electrophysiologist?
Cardiac electrophysiology is on the "frontier" of cardiology and medicine. It requires not only technical/surgical skills but also highly complex reasoning and deductive thinking. The research in this field pushes the boundaries of science, and goes back to my desire to explore the "frontiers" of science.
5. Do you have an insight or philosophy that guides you in your professional work?
As I mentioned above, I feel the best way I can give back to society is to mentor young physicians, help patients at their most vulnerable times of their lives, and discover new treatments to improve health. Also, cardiology and electrophysiology are highly technical fields utilizing the latest and most advanced technology to deliver outstanding care. However, at the end of the day, I believe that the best care for my patients involves listening to them, informing them about their illness, involving them in their care, and always doing what is in their best interests.
6. Why did you choose the University of Colorado?
I have joined a young, dynamic group of doctors who have become my mentors, colleagues, and family. They are the reason why I came to the University and why I look forward to coming to work every single day. The University has also provided a nurturing environment to develop academic physicians, allowing us to integrate research, patient care, and education.
7. What kinds of professional opportunities or advantages does being a faculty member at an academic medical center provide?
The University provides an opportunity to interact with others throughout the University and share ideas that I would not otherwise be able do outside of an academic setting. Being around people who are excited about learning, research, and taking care of patients is refreshing and re-invigorates me every day to be a better doctor, teacher, and researcher.
8. What one piece of advice would you give to today's students?
Medicine is ever changing. Learning facts now will simply mean they become obsolete in a few years. The importance is to learn the process of reasoning and how to think about problems and how to seek out new knowledge, always keeping the big picture in mind.
9. What do you see as 'the future' of medicine?
The "future" of medicine will be about what it has always been about - it's about patients and how we can better their lives.
10. What are some of your outside interests?
I enjoy spending time with family, traveling, being in the outdoors/hiking, music, biking, and reading.