Embracing the Complicated World of Health Care

February 6, 2020

Thu was born in Vietnam and lived there until the age of 12 when she and her family moved to Minnesota. The cultural shift was intense, though she and her sister were young enough to adjust all right to their new home. For Thu’s parents, it wasn’t as easy. 

“My parents don’t speak English very well, so my sister and I handle a lot of the phone calls about health insurance,” Thu says. “The US doesn’t have a perfect health care system, but compare it to other countries like Vietnam and you can see how lucky we are.” 

Growing up in Vietnam, and occasionally returning to visit, has given Thu perspective on cultural differences and health care systems. The inequalities she’s seen have motivated her to make a difference. It’s her goal to one day return to Vietnam to start a nonprofit organization, run by women, that provides women’s health care, especially reproductive health.

“When we moved to the US, my mom was able to get health care that she didn’t have in Vietnam. Of course, it would’ve been better if she’d have had access to great health care all along, but she didn’t—especially as a woman,” Thu says. “I’m really interested in providing that access, especially to underrepresented communities. I know it’ll be hard, though. In business and in health care, there’s no one right answer. It’s so complex. How do you find that fine line?”

Pursuing her major in HSM, Thu is able to plunge into those complexities, gaining all the tools she’ll need to navigate public health issues. 

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Headshot of Thu Mai