Lisa Khanh Le, MD, general pediatrician, shares about her Vietnamese heritage and what Asian American Pacific Islander Month means to her.
Dr. Le has been a part of the Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health clinic in Prairieville for 11 years.
Dr. Le is the first in her family to graduate college and become a physician. She was born in Vietnam and immigrated to the U.S. in 1975 at the end of the Vietnam War. Her father was a lieutenant colonel in the South Vietnamese Air Force and flew helicopters his entire life.
Their family has a picture from the Vietnam War that is posted almost every year during the anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War on April 30.
“[My family has] always instilled in me a respect for the United States, gratitude for the freedom we have now, dedication and hard-working ethic my entire life,” Dr. Le says. “I have wanted to help people when I grew up and during a summer college job, I was a summer camp counselor at Camp Bon Coeur (Camp Good Heart). All the campers had congenital heart disease, and all had open heart surgeries in the past. I realized that I enjoyed being around kids. Their resilience to these health conditions inspired me to become a pediatrician. Once in medical school, pediatric rotation was my favorite and the end of the story.”
In addition to speaking Vietnamese and English fluently, Dr. Le also speaks Spanish, which is valuable for many of her patients .
Dr. Le’s favorite family tradition is New Year’s, Tet. They give out lucky money bags to all the younger children and single adults in their family. They wish elders good luck, prosperity and good health in the next year and eat traditional New Year’s food. Tet’s cultural dish is the banh tet, sticky rice filled with mung bean and meat. This is one of her favorites.
“Tet is the cultural celebration I feel most connected to,” Dr. Le says. “It’s usually the lunar new year on our calendars and occurs usually in late January or February. Our family celebrates this every year in addition to the normal New Year celebration in the U.S. It’s fun with dragon dances and everyone celebrates happiness throughout the day and wishes others good luck for the new year.”
The Importance of Diversity and Different Perspectives
“The United States is the melting pot of the world and diversity in the workplace should be no different,” Dr. Le says. “Having to learn from different cultures and ethnicities will inspire people to open up their minds to different ways of thinking and traditions. If we were all the same and had the same thoughts and feelings, then how would we be able to learn diversity?”
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 Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month each May.