Pediatric Residency Program Graduate Wins National Community Service Award

Photo of Dr. Kevin Nguyen

(Madera, Calif.) –Valley Children’s Pediatric Residency Program graduate Dr. Kevin Nguyen was recently named the recipient of the Organization of Resident Representatives (ORR) Community Service Recognition Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). This prestigious, annual award is given to just one resident in the entire country in recognition of their contributions to the local communities surrounding their pediatric residency training institution, above and beyond the requirements of their program.

“The award was a complete surprise,” said the El Dorado Hills native, who graduated in June from Valley Children’s Pediatric Residency Program. “I feel very grateful and very thankful to my mentors at Valley Children’s for nominating me because I feel like I grew a lot during my residency.”

While Dr. Nguyen’s residency training focused on the pediatric population in general, his advocacy work focused specifically on children and teens identifying as LGBTQ+, non-binary or gender non-conforming, and working with community members, transgender advocacy groups and physicians to raise awareness for and address the unique challenges this population faces in healthcare and in their communities.

This outstanding dedication to advocacy impressed Dr. Nicole Webb, Valley Children’s pediatric hospitalist and Dr. Nguyen’s mentor, and inspired her to nominate him for the award.

“Dr. Nguyen had extensive experience working with and advocating for equitable and affirming care for transgender and non-binary youth prior to coming to Valley Children’s, and he took exceptional interest in knowing and understanding that community in the Central Valley to the fullest extent possible,” said Dr. Webb. “He was tireless in his dedication to providing a voice to a community that is often silenced or ignored, and to doing so in a way that enthusiastically and patiently encouraged others to learn and participate.”

A lasting result of Dr. Nguyen’s work was the inclusion of new fields into Valley Children’s electronic medical record (EMR) patient information forms, including chosen names, pronouns and items for social worker follow-up. By having these fields directly in the EMR, anyone on the healthcare team can ensure they are filled in with the information that makes the patient and family feel respected and accepted. Because a patient’s medical record in the EMR “follows” them throughout their hospital stay, any care member who accesses the record will know to use the patient’s chosen name and/or pronoun, and any new documentation automatically populates with that information, so it becomes a natural part of the care team’s workflow.

“In healthcare we often ask ourselves, ‘How can we do better? How can we be better?’” said Dr. Nguyen. By making identity-affirming information an engrained aspect of the medical record, Dr. Nguyen believes it will create a more supportive environment for patients identifying as LGBTQ+ and their families.

Dr. Nguyen will be honored by the AAMC during a virtual ceremony on October 28. In addition, a $1,250 contribution will be made to Fresno Equal Opportunity Council (EOC), which Dr. Nguyen chose as the non-profit organization recipient.

Although the ORR Community Service Award is given to only one resident nationally each year, Dr. Nguyen is quick to say the recognition is not his alone.

“Advocacy is never a one person thing,” said Dr. Nguyen. “Seeing people come together to fight systemic challenges has been the most gratifying part. The award is the cherry on top.”

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