As a GMS scholar (2005) and since high school, Lan Truong has pursued the study and research of ethnobotany, the scientific study of the relationship between plants and human cultures. Truong earned degrees in botany, with specialization in ethnobotany (University of Hawaii at Manoa, Bachelor’s; City University of New York – Lehman College, Master’s). Today, with over 10 years of ethnobotanical research, Truong investigates anti-diabetic botanical remedies of traditional Vietnamese medicine (TVM) to treat type-2 diabetes (T2D) as her doctoral project. TVM also incorporates the use of functional foods that are potentially therapeutic for T2D treatment and prevention. Truong’s interests also include the sociocultural context of traditional healing systems, including the role of spirituality in diabetic healthcare. Implications of this study can help in the development of life-saving health interventions, and especially within underserved immigrant populations in which T2D incidence and risks are among the highest.
What do you appreciate the most about your Asian/Pacific American Heritage?
I am humbled and deeply grateful for the resiliency and ingenuity imbued to me by my Vietnamese ancestors. The Vietnamese people have developed incredible strength in mind and spirit, enduring centuries-long warfare and colonization. These ceaseless struggles have culminated in a rich cultural history in which human spirit has prevailed despite circumstance. Interestingly and little known, Vietnam was also traditionally matrilineal, and I derive my tenacity from a culture rooted in a mindful resiliency that embraces the spirit of both feminine and masculine energies and attributes.
How do you support/celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month?
I support Asian Pacific American Heritage Month by frequenting Asian-owned local businesses, a bedrock of entrepreneurship. I celebrate this month by eating authentic Asian food, thus helping to reconnect me to my own cultural heritage while also embracing other unique Asian cultures.
What do you hope people gain from Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month?
I hope that people gain an appreciation for the great diversity and the values offered by API communities. This month also provides an opportunity to highlight the challenges the API community faces. Overall, this exposure can help people begin dialogue on API issues to raise general awareness.