Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month 2024

May 15, 2024 | Team Member Spotlights

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In honor of Asian & Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2024, we are recognizing and celebrating the contributions and achievements of several team members from across our health system.

These team members come from diverse backgrounds and serve in various roles, and they are united in their passion to serve the communities we are privileged to serve.

Yen Lam

Yen Lam is a medical technologist in the microbiology lab at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center. In this role, she cultures samples and conducts tests to help physicians diagnose patients. After working in retail for many years, she went back to school in her mid-30s to pursue her dream of helping others.

The Lunar New Year is Lam’s favorite holiday to celebrate.

“I usually spend it with my mom by going to the festivals put on by our community,” Lam says. Lam’s favorite Vietnamese dish is seafood egg noodles, which is a stir fry dish. “But really, anything my mom makes is my favorite.”

Lam is inspired by people who make courageous decisions to follow their dreams. Her mother fled a war-torn Vietnam to pursue a better life for her family in the U.S.

“Today, my siblings and I all work in the healthcare field in some capacity,” Lam says. “My children are engineers, and my nieces are studying to become doctors and dentists. This could not have happened without my mom’s amazing courage.”

Thai Nguyen, RN

Thai Nguyen, RN, is a registered nurse who works in the operating room at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center.

Nguyen draws inspiration from his parents, who immigrated to America in search of a better life despite facing language barriers and the challenges of adapting to a new country. He admires their selflessness and generosity.

Nguyen’s favorite Vietnamese dish is thit kho, a combination of caramelized pork and eggs. “My wife cooks it for me,” he says. “She learned the recipe from my mother but added her own southern flair to it.”

He values diversity in the workplace. “Cultural diversity is like a big pot of gumbo or pho,” Nguyen says. “All the different cultural backgrounds are the flavors that come together to make a delicious meal.”

Amy Vong, RN

Amy Vong, RN, is a medical-surgical nurse at Our Lady of the Lake and has served in our ministry for three years.

Vong’s favorite family tradition is their annual gathering during Tết, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. “It’s a time for us to come together, share delicious food, exchange red envelopes and honor our ancestors,” Vong says. She feels connected to this holiday as it holds deep cultural significance for Vietnamese people worldwide.

Vong was inspired by her parents to pursue a career in healthcare.

“They immigrated to the United States to seek better opportunities, and their sacrifices and resilience motivated me to give back to my community,” Vong says.

She is passionate about advocating for health equity and serving marginalized communities. “I believe everyone deserves access to quality healthcare, regardless of their background or circumstances,” Vong says.

Grace Lee Boggs, a Chinese-American activist and philosopher, inspires Vong to advocate for positive change in the community.

“Her lifelong dedication to social justice, civil rights, and community empowerment serves as a constant reminder of the power of grassroots organizing and the importance of fighting for a more equitable society,” Vong says.

She believes that by embracing diversity, we can better address the unique needs of our diverse patient population.

Lauren Nguyen, RN

Lauren Nguyen, RN, is a nurse in the emergency room at Our Lady of the Lake Livingston. After her first child was born, Nguyen was driven to pursue nursing because of the close relationships she witnessed between nurses and their patients during that experience.

Nguyen enjoys spending time with her family every Sunday. Her favorite holiday to celebrate is the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. She is inspired by her dad, who is a first-generation American. “He has been through a lot, and I’m blessed to have what I have now,” Nguyen says.  

Nguyen believes diversity in the workplace is important because it benefits everyone. “It promotes happiness, creativity, problem-solving and more,” Nguyen says.

Loan Tran, RN, BSN

Loan Tran RN, BSN, is a nursing supervisor at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and has been with the health system for 18 years.

Tran is inspired by Karen Estela MPH, RN, CIC, an infection preventionist and Chair of the Our Lady of the Lake DEI Committee, whom Tran looks up to as an Asian American person working in healthcare.

Tran loves to celebrate her Asian heritage with her family, especially during holidays. “The cultural celebration I feel most connected to is Tết, also known as the Vietnamese Lunar New Year,” Tran says. Her family has big gatherings and enjoys delicious meals together. One of Tran’s favorite dishes is pho, a tasty Vietnamese soup made with noodles, beef and herbs.

Tran believes diverse people working together is important. She says when everyone brings their own unique experiences and perspectives, they can better understand each other. This helps a team not only work well together but also provide better care for patients.

Mai Bishop

Mai Bishop is a mental health specialist at Our Lady of the Lake. She provides valuable resources to emergency department patients and their families during times of crisis. She was inspired to pursue this career in mental health because she recognized a need for more awareness on this important topic in her community. 

“Mental health is often swept under the rug in the Asian community,” Bishop says. She works with patients in many age groups, but most enjoys working with geriatric patients.

Spending holidays and birthdays with her family is important to Bishop. Her favorite dish at family gatherings is banh cuon, a rice flour crepe filled with meat and mushrooms. The dish is paired with bean sprouts, cucumbers and fish sauce.

“You can’t find this dish in Baton Rouge, so I had to learn to make it at home,” Bishop says.

Bishop enjoys working with a diverse group of individuals because they bring new perspectives and experiences.

“I always appreciate when I see Asians in the media, from authors to actors to fashion designers,” Bishop says. Outside of work, she enjoys reading, traveling and baking.

Karen Mai

Karen Mai, is an IS governance, risk and compliance manager for the health system. In her role, she is responsible for overseeing the planning, documentation, implementation, maintenance and testing of business continuity, emergency operations and disaster recovery plans.

Mai has always been passionate about working in healthcare. “I started studying nursing, but soon found out that wasn’t for me, so I changed my major to health information management,” she says.

After graduating college, Mai was hired by a coding company to code ER charts before moving on to coding outpatient charts for a hospital.

“Working in a hospital gave me the opportunity to learn about the registration process and revenue cycle process,” Mai says. “I was able to transition from a coder to a compliance auditor before coming to work in my role now at FMOLHS.”

Neha Thakur, MHA

Neha Thakur, MHA, is an accreditation and regulatory manager at St. Dominic Hospital, where she is responsible for making sure that our organization is compliant with state and federal regulations, following evidence-based best practices and providing patient-centered care.

Thakur was inspired to pursue a healthcare career when she moved to the U.S. from India in 2014.

“What excited me the most was the difference between the healthcare systems of the U.S. and India,” she says. To learn more about U.S. healthcare, Thakur enrolled in Mississippi College to earn her master’s degree in healthcare administration.

Thakur’s favorite Indian celebration is Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights. “The feel and enthusiasm for Diwali in India is similar to Christmas in the U.S.,” she says.

Her favorite family tradition is enjoying meals together. India is known for its spices, and there are so many different flavors that make Indian dishes unique. “My all-time favorite dish would be butter chicken or chicken curry,” says Thakur.

Thakur is grateful to have worked with great leaders and mentors throughout her healthcare career.

“Because I was given great opportunities, I would love for others to experience those opportunities as well,” she says. “With that goal in mind, I joined the DEI committee to help as many people as I can.”

Our DEI Commitment  

Our ministry’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion supports culturally competent care education for our team members all year long, including during Black History Month each February.

Interested in joining the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System team? Learn more here.

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