After graduating from Dartmouth Medical School (Dartmouth College) with a Master's Degree in Biochemistry, I went back to my alma mater to teach Science. My goal was to teach for three to five years and then return to medical school to get a doctorate degree. That was 25 years ago. It was then that I altered my trajectory from becoming a Physician to becoming a Teacher.
Why did I want to be a teacher? I believe that I have made much difference to society as a teacher than I could have as a research scientist. As a former refugee and an English language learner, I have received plenty of assistance from schools, teachers, and nonprofit organizations. My teachers went the extra mile to help me. I feel that I owe a great deal to this country and to my teachers. In my opinion becoming a teacher is one of the best ways to repay my debt to America and to honor my teachers. I want to help students who are “average” or at-risk, like I was to succeed in school and be admitted to colleges and to achieve the American Dream just as I have been blessed to have.
As my teaching career winds down, I have begun to think about what legacy I will leave behind when my life has passed. School Dropout, War Refugee, Ivy Leaguer, Classroom Teachers; these four phrases also form the titles for three chapters of my graphic novel and memoir. I would be honored if you would join me for my final chapter of Dreams from Vietnam.
What is my final dream? In 2019, the Washington State Board of Education approved the Tu Luong Medical Mission Foundation to establish the Seattle Mini Medical School (SMMS), which provides full curriculum for grades 6-12. SMMS will be a blended learning college preparatory school that focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Medicine, and Medical Mission. SMMS is designed for students who are serious about pursuing a career in medicine.
SMMS provides a way to expose high school students to the basic science of medicine and clinical skills early on in their education. Our medical mission will provide students with clinical experiences that instill compassion and help students understand the true meaning of medicine and service. My final chapter of Dreams from Vietnam is to guide, encourage, and educate the future physicians, dentists, pharmacists, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to have compassion for the poor and needy both locally and globally.
So that by joining me we can accomplish my final dream: to live out new chapters of this journey and create a never-ending story in which you are the new author.