Eye on Success: Pre-Med Program Shapes Surgeon
Lee Tran, MD, ’00, is a retina surgeon and ophthalmologist in private practice whose parents emigrated from Vietnam in 1975. Recently, he sponsored a luncheon for Vietnamese students and their parents to learn more about the University of St. Thomas.
“When I think about my education, I’ve been through multiple schools,” Dr. Tran said. “The most influential school in my life would be UST.”
Dr. Tran graduated summa cum laude with a dual degree in chemistry and biology, and he received his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Tran completed his ophthalmology residency and vitreoretinal fellowship at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, where he served as chief resident and received the Outstanding Fellow in Ophthalmology Award.
Dr. Tran said his Catholic faith and desire to be close to home influenced his decision to attend UST, and he also wanted to attend a University that would prepare him for the medical profession. He said his strong acceptance into medical school was due in part to the personal interactions with faculty who took the time to get to know him and write strong recommendation letters.
“For science classes, I could walk in and out of professors’ offices,” he said. “It builds relationships with them. Later on, they become your mentors for going to medical school.”
Dr. Tran said he also benefited from classes in the core curriculum.
“I take away what I learned in theology and philosophy, as far as the way of life, and how it affects your faith, morals and ethics,” he said. “Looking back, I wish I concentrated more on those classes.”
In his spare time, Dr. Tran has traveled on mission trips, including to Honduras to provide basic medical care and glasses. He has also visited Vietnam to perform cataract surgery on adults and retina surgeries on premature babies.
“I had never been to Vietnam, so it was a cultural experience,” Dr. Tran said. “There’s so much need there. It really opens your eyes and makes you feel fortunate for what you have.”
Dr. Tran encourages other students to consider UST.
“I would say if you’re looking for a smaller University with great student-teacher ratio, if you’re looking for a great liberal arts education that allows you to take a diversity of classes… then you should definitely consider UST.”