Dr. Caroline Nguyen: Minnie Lee Lancaster, M.D., Scholarship Award in Family Medicine
By Patrick McGee
Take your daughter to work day was routine for Dr. Caroline Nguyen – much more frequent than once a year. Her mother, a family physician, often brought her to work, and the visits made a lasting impact.
“I grew up in medicine and saw how great it is,” Dr. Nguyen said. “As a little kid, I would just sit and watch things go around in the hospital, and it’s just something that I’ve always loved.”
Her focus helped Dr. Nguyen receive the 2014 Minnie Lee Lancaster, M.D. Scholarship Award in Family Medicine. The Lancaster award honors Dr. Lancaster and her husband, Dr. Edgar Lancaster, who in 1953 opened the Grapevine Clinic and Hospital, the first clinic in Grapevine and the forerunner of Baylor Regional Medical Center at Grapevine.
Her mother’s influence not only helped lead Dr. Nguyen to medical school, but developed in her a strong commitment to community service.
“Caroline has demonstrated a consistent commitment to helping her community throughout all four years of medical school,” said Dr. Dan Sepdham, Associate Professor of Family and Community Medicine. “She lists two pages worth of volunteer experiences, truly impressive for a full-time medical student.”
Dr. Nguyen worked with a program called No One Dies Alone, which offers volunteers who sit with terminally ill patients at Parkland Memorial Hospital if they have no family or friends nearby to be with them.
“Your goal isn’t to heal them anymore or save them. The goal is to bring the patient comfort and a sense of peace.” Dr. Nguyen said. “There’s a spiritual aspect to it that I find so rewarding in every way.”
She also went on medical mission trips every spring break with Southwestern Christian Fellowship, a student group at UT Southwestern, travelling to places such as El Paso and Grand Goave, Haiti.
“Through these trips, I learned that practicing medicine not only deals with the healing of a patient’s body, it also means working to help the patient heal his spirit and soul,” said Dr. Nguyen, who will serve her residency at Methodist Health System in Dallas.
Dr. Nguyen said her mother’s influence to encourage her to choose a career in medicine and her classmates’ influence to become a Christian meld perfectly with her decision to practice family medicine – a field with great opportunity to help as many people as possible.
“It will really provide me with a skill set that I need if I choose to do mission work. I can be that doctor who feels comfortable with most anything that comes my way,” Dr. Nguyen said. “God has put this huge desire in my heart to do so much in regards to community service and practicing family medicine, and He has given me the strength to do it all.”
Dr. Sepdham holds the Drs. Malone V. Hill and John W. Pate Professorship in Family Medicine.