We are so excited to Spotlight some of the most amazing Mavens in Medicine, bringing a positive spirit, expertise in her field and fabulous style to the world of medicine and beyond! Meet our newest Spotlight Maven… My Tu.
The Mavens: Hi My. It’s so great to chat with a fellow physician and anesthesiologist. Let’s jump right into it. What made you decide to go into medicine?
MT: Hi ladies! Let me first say that I am honored to be spotlighted. It’s so nice to see women in medicine entering the creative space.
My decision to enter into healthcare was very personal. Being Vietnamese refugees, my parents and grandparents were extremely poor and did not speak a word of English. When they needed medical attention, they would go to any facility or person that would see them. No one bothered to translate or explain to them their medical condition and what needed to be done. For example, my mother was forced into signing a sterilization consent without knowing what she signed. It wasn’t until years later when she attempted to have a 4th child that a physician explained to her that she previously had a BTL (bilateral tubal ligation).
From childhood and henceforth, I became the sole translator and the family ambassador. I was appalled by how we were treated because of our lack of knowledge and resources. Because of these experiences, I vowed to become a doctor that would treat people like human beings, despite their history or future.
I ultimately chose the specialty of anesthesiology because it gives me the ability to focus my attention on one patient at a time and have better control of the environment.
The Mavens: Wow, what a humbling experience. Unfortunately, your family’s story is more common than we would like it to be. We are grateful to you, and other Mavens like yourself, who dedicate their life to helping and uplifting others in need. Thank You!
Is there anyone in particular, a personal or professional icon maybe, that you would say inspires you to continue to do the work that you do?
MT: Whenever I feel like life is just too hard, my grandmother has and will always be my inspiration. She was a farmer who gave birth to 7 children on her own in the fields of rural Vietnam. She watched 4 of her children die because of lack of access to medical care. Despite this, she continues to live a life filled with peace and compassion. Today, she is a young 99 year old who is completely lucid and performs all activities of daily living independently. She is my icon of strength and empowerment.
The Mavens: Well with all of that, it’s hard to imagine you doing anything other than practicing medicine. Did you ever have another profession in mind?
MT: Had I not been accepted into medical school, my back up plan was to own a bakery. I’m pretty crafty and I love to bake! Maybe that can be my next creative venture but in the meantime my kids will get to enjoy the treats from mommy’s little hobby 🙂 I am also a good at sewing and I love yoga and ice skating. I try to enlist my 3 children into these activities as often as I can.
The Mavens: My, what don’t you do?! It seems like being a Maven in Medicine is only one of the many areas that you have nearly perfected. How do you balance work, motherhood, being a wife and maintaining your sense of self so well?
MT: LOL, thanks ladies. When you have young children, you pull out all the stops to keep them occupied, entertained and learning. And of course Yoga…lots of yoga!!! Honestly, I just know I have to do it, so I just… do it. Also, my husband has been such a huge support in my life, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without him. I will admit that one area I am no longer a Maven in is fashion. When it comes to style, I am a pretty basic Maven. Although my personality is pretty feisty, my style is mostly classic and comfortable. Jeans, a loose fitting sleeveless shirt and a cardigan are my go-to items.
The Mavens: What advice would you give your fellow Maven?
MT: No matter how tough life may seem, know that it could be worse so be grateful for where you are. It is you and you alone that will determine your outcome, so if you want your situation to be better, make it better! If I had to say what I am most proud of, it would be my parents for escaping Vietnam and venturing out to the unknown with 3 kids in tow and pregnant with me. If it weren’t for their courage to endure the treacherous journey, I would not have met my Iraqi husband, have 3 beautiful children and be the physician that I am today.
The Mavens: As lovers of travel, we have got to know, what is your favorite travel destination?
MT: Besides home, my favorite place has got to be Costa Rica. I had the time of my life there. From the beaches to the history to the night life. Mountains and volcanoes to hikes and zip line through. There was just so much to do. My husband and I rented a SUV and drove all of over that country with absolutely no plans and we had the best time.
The Mavens: My, you truly embody the spirit of an empowered woman. Your determination and commitment to your family and your patients should be celebrated. We are so proud that you are a Maven in Medicine! Thank you so much for sitting down with us.
My Tu, MD is a regional trained Anesthesiologist at NYP Queens. Follow her on Instagram @My3Lj