Chi Chi Do-Nguyen, DO ‘21 May 12, 2021
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
For many, the memory of spending their childhood in and out of hospitals would discourage
them from a career in medicine. This was not the case for Chi Chi Do-Nguyen (DO ‘21).
As a child living with chronic asthma, she spent her time in the hospital learning
about the healthcare process and seeing firsthand the beauty and flaws of the system.
As a first-generation Vietnamese American, Ms. Do-Nguyen would often serve as an interpreter
for her family. These early childhood experiences would inspire a life dedicated to
education, research and mentorship.
After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Ms.
Do-Nguyen began biomedical engineering research in artificial lungs at the Cook Cardiopulmonary
Bioengineering Lab on the Carnegie Mellon campus. During her three years in this lab,
Ms. Do-Nguyen served as the lab manager and technician. It was here that she met her
mentor, a general surgery resident named Caitlin Demarest, MD, PhD, who encouraged
Ms. Do-Nguyen to pursue medicine.
Coming from a Buddist background, Ms. Do-Nguyen was drawn to osteopathic medicine
for its holistic approach. During her time at PCOM, Ms. Do-Nguyen was actively involved
in several organizations and initiatives. She served as Class Chair all four years
at PCOM, she was secretary of the Wisely Surgical Association, vice president of the
Anesthesiology Club, and an ambassador for the DO Office of Admissions. Perhaps the
most important legacy that Ms. Do-Nguyen will leave behind at PCOM is the creation
of the PCOM chapter of the Association of Women Surgeons (AWS).
“For me, having a strong mentor has played a crucial role in my success at PCOM and
my residency decision. My mentor, Dr. Demarest, has guided me in so many ways and
has shown me women can be successful in surgery and beyond. I started the PCOM AWS
chapter to create a mentorship network for other students,” shared Ms. Do-Nguyen.
Ms. Do-Nguyen will be graduating with the Dean’s Award and the Galen S. Young, Sr.,
DO Memorial Award for her interest and ability in surgery. After graduation, she will
begin her integrated residency in cardiothoracic surgery at the University of Michigan.
Ms. Do-Nguyen is the first student from PCOM to match into cardiothoracic surgery,
the first doctor of osteopathic medicine to match at the University of Michigan Department
of Cardiothoracic Surgery and the only doctor of osteopathic medicine to match into
cardiothoracic surgery this year.
When asked what advice she would give to students starting their medical school journey
today, Ms. Do-Nguyen shared, “Right now is the most beautiful and perfect time to
pursue medicine. There may be hardships throughout medical school, but it is all worth
it. Also, find a mentor that you love and trust, and if you don’t have one, feel free
to reach out to me and I’ll be your mentor!”
Ms. Do-Nguyen is the daughter of Lien Nguyen. She grew up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.