Dr. Trung Phan
I enjoy getting to know my patients, and I hope you spend a little time to read about me. I was born and raised in Hue, Vietnam. My father fought in the Vietnam War as a South Vietnamese Army Captain and alongside the United States of America. The North Vietnamese Army captured and imprisoned my father for eight years, and his release came when the Vietnam War ended on April 30, 1975, when the North Vietnamese Army overtook Saigon. Although my father had his freedom, life after the war was a difficult adjustment for him and my mother.
Soon after the Vietnam War, Vietnamese refugees began to flee their homeland. The first wave consisted of South Vietnamese, U.S. government officials, and selected Vietnamese families. My family was not part of this group; instead, after the fall of Saigon, the new Socialist Republic of Vietnam sent millions of former South Vietnamese military officers to re-education camps, including my father. Luck began to turn in our favor in the early 1990s; because my father was a former political refugee and prisoner, under the U.S. Humanitarian Operation Program, our family was able to leave Vietnam. In 1991, my family and I immigrated to Denver, Colorado, through the sponsorship of an elderly American couple.
My life was difficult in Vietnam, and I thought coming into the United States would be a lot better; however, living in the United States possessed its own hardships and challenges. Adjusting to American culture was difficult; I could not speak a word of English and kids gave me funny looks as I talked to them in Vietnamese. I realized that life was different and challenging but certain people in my community lent their hands and helped us with our transition. Before separating from my parents, they taught me to be honest, hardworking, and considerate of others.
At the age of 16, I began the Casey Foundation Independent Living Program and by my junior year in high school I was living in an apartment, paying my own bills, and working an average of 35 hours a week as a waiter. I was also still able to graduate high school with honors while taking Advanced Placement classes such as AP Chemistry and College Calculus. I sacrificed my high school graduation to graduate early so I could enlist in the Marines. There they fortified my discipline for hard work, perseverance, leadership, teamwork, and integrity.
While at the University of Iowa working toward my B.S. in Biology, I received orders to deploy to Iraq. My heart sank as the thought of dying young went through my mind; however, in hindsight, being in Iraq has been the best experience in my life. I interacted with the natives, and I noticed they did not have much left in their war-torn country, yet, I never once heard them complain about their lives. I had the opportunity to teach the Iraqis proper hygiene, including oral hygiene. I taught kids and adults how to use toothbrushes and toothpaste to brush their teeth. I could tell they were grateful for my help. These interactions were gratifying and influenced my decision to pursue dentistry. Dentistry, to me, is a profession that brings me joy by helping others. I love meeting my patients, getting to know them throughout their treatment process, but more important, it fulfills my duty as a human being to help others who are in need.
My treatment philosophy when it comes to treating and managing my patients is to treat them how I would my own family.
I love to spend my free time with my wife, Ellen, my daughters, Emery and Kennedy, and our Cavachon puppies, Rylee, Lucy, and Willie Mays. My idea of a fun time is being with family and friends. I enjoy home projects and reading. I also enjoy working on cars and motorcycles. I stay active by riding my bicycle, running, and enjoying any other outdoor activities.
If you would allow me, I would love to be your dentist!
-Dr. Trung Phan