Huynh Tran, ’06 and his family first came to the United States from Vietnam with little more than the clothes on their back. His father, an officer in the South Vietnam Army, had spent time in prison after working with the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War and was unable to find work after being released. Tran’s family struggled under a communist government until being approved for U.S. immigration in 1999. After 13 years in America, Tran has built a promising life for himself; first as an architect, then as a research assistant, and now as resident physician at Basset Medical Center at Columbia University.
Tran began his studies in architecture at the Vietnam National University in Hochiminh City. He completed three years of his education before coming to America, but he didn’t let the move stop him from achieving his goals. He took classes in both architecture and pre-med at Muskegon Community College before transferring to University of Michigan where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Architecture in 2003. He spent two years working with AMDG Architects in Grand Rapids before deciding to follow his other passion: Medicine.
“I took a class at GVSU and I loved it,” he said. “I realized GVSU could help me pursue my dream to become a physician.”
As a student at Grand Valley State University, Tran took little time off. He was involved with premedical clubs and tutoring in the Math and Science Center on top of a heavy load of schoolwork. One of his favorite memories of Grand Valley were the long days and late nights spent studying for his medical college admission test.
“I ate and slept in the library during my MCAT studies,” he said.
The hard work paid off for Tran when he acquired a research assistant position at St. Mary’s Hospital immediately after graduation. He worked for a year before starting medical school at the State University of New York in Buffalo. Now, as a resident physician, he looks forward to the thrill of saving lives but also understands how to be compassionate when lives are lost.
In between performing operations, he examines patients and supervises medical students. A fan of a fast-paced environment, Tran thanks the multi-faceted education that he received at Grand Valley for preparing him for the many aspects of medical practice.
“As a resident, I teach medical students and other health care professionals. As a physician, I teach my patients about health and disease,” he said. “The background that I fostered and learned at GVSU in leadership, professionalism, and humanism has helped me excel in everything I have done since.”
Not wanting to forget his roots, Tran founded VietMD.net, an organization dedicated to helping Vietnamese medical students learn Medical English and study for the United States Medical Licensing Examination. He has since returned to Vietnam to instruct students at the University Medical Center in Hochiminh City.
Tran’s drive to continue excelling in the field of medicine carries on this fall as he begins a diagnostic radiology fellowship at the University of Florida. His focus will be in interventional radiology which uses x-rays and ultrasounds to pinpoint and treat the source of an affliction without the need for invasive surgery.