Doctor And Pharmacist Heal Health Needs In Vietnamese Community

The new year finds Nick Tran in his new home. This week, Tran moved his pharmacy from Howard Avenue to bigger quarters on Division Street.

Nick Tran said, "It's bigger, so I have more chance to do more things in the store, like sell more over the counter."

Tran came to East Biloxi three years ago, after noticing a void in the Vietnamese community. Tran said "I think there's really a need for it. A lot of them can't speak English, so I translate, and tell them how to take their medicine correctly."

Tran's Pharmacy is located in the newly-renovated "Family Medical Plaza" on Division Street. Dr. Thomas Trieu bought the 20,000 square foot building to expand his six-year old family practice and to fill the need for a Vietnamese-speaking physician. There are about 17,000 Vietnamese-Americans in South Mississippi, and many can't understand, read or speak English.

Dr. Thomas Trieu said, "Especially the elderly Vietnamese population, they do not speak or understand English very well. Therefore, every time they go somewhere, they have to have an interpreter. Sometimes, they're not able to communicate their illness, even with an interpreter."

Dr. Trieu's patient load has grown so much, his wife, Dr. Victoria Van, joined his staff last year.

Dr. Trieu said "Sometimes, it can be overwhelming, but we try to fit everybody in."

And the vacant areas in the building won't stay empty long. A physical therapist and an attorney will be setting up shop in the complex.  Both will also specialize in services for the Vietnamese community.

Of course the doctor's office, and the other businesses at the "Family Medical Plaza" are open to everyone, not just Vietnamese patients and customers.