In this episode, Dr. David Tom Cooke interviews Dr. Tom Nguyen from the University of California San Francisco. Listeners will learn the details of Dr. Nguyen’s “classic immigrant story.” In 1975, when he and his family came to the US as political refugees from their native Vietnam, they were among the first Vietnamese to put their “feet in the soil” of this country. Dr. Nguyen shares that the difficult journey was full of “serendipity and circumstances” and shaped his life in profound ways. He learned English by watching cartoons—"Tom & Jerry" was his favorite—so much so that he chose “Tom” as his name when he became a US citizen. Why did Dr. Nguyen pursue medicine? Why not?, he asks. This career path led him away from his home of Houston, Texas, to prestigious institutions such as The Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, and Columbia University. Hear what sage advice motivated Dr. Nguyen to challenge himself and learn from these different environments. And you don’t want to miss Dr. Nguyen’s predictions for the future of cardiothoracic surgery and what he thinks the specialty needs to embrace so it doesn’t become “extinct.”  “Same Surgeon, Different Light” is a program from the Society designed to demystify cardiothoracic surgery, revealing the men and women behind their surgical masks.

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