An aspiring health advocate and physician, Vy Tran is pursuing dual degrees in Human Biology (BA) and Community Health and Prevention Research (MS) at Stanford University. Since her freshman year, Vy has taken an empathetic and enterprising approach to serving the health needs of underserved communities. For the last four years, she has volunteered as a Spanish and Vietnamese medical interpreter in the emergency department of the county hospital. She now directs, and has dramatically expanded, Student Clinical Opportunities for Premedical Experience, a student-led nonprofit based at Stanford through which 50-60 premedical student interns and medical interpreters volunteer each year. Over the course of her time at Stanford, Vy has seamlessly integrated hands-on health advocacy, policy, and leadership roles with rigorous academics, including honors thesis research on experiences of low-income and non-English speaking patients. Vy is an inspiration to faculty, staff, and students, and exemplifies a commitment to being "of greater service to the public" that is at the core of a Stanford education.
What could a doctor prescribe for "cultural barriers," "food insecurity," or most elusive of all, "poverty?" As a medical interpreter in the local emergency department, I am troubled by countless patients being discharged into the same social and environmental conditions that contributed to their predicaments in the first place. Since freshman year, my experiences with underserved patients have inspired me to delve deeper into the root causes of health inequity. I served as a Community Health Advocacy Fellow to learn about solutions at the legislative level and became a community-based researcher in the Public Service Scholars Program to gain knowledge and skills in evidence-based health policies. As a leader of Student Clinical Opportunities for Premedical Experience, I have helped build a network of students dedicated to transforming the field of medicine so that health advocacy becomes an essential part of a physician's responsibility. My passion for advancing health equity also stems from personal experience with the complex challenges that underserved communities face. As a student from an immigrant, low-income background, I aspire to be a physician and health advocate representing these communities, and empowering them to inform legislators with their often unheard, yet powerful narratives.