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James H. Nguyen, M.D., to Be Inducted into Santa Ana College Hall of Fame

May 13, 2011

(Santa Ana) - James H. Nguyen, M.D., who graduated from Santa Ana College with honors in 1998 at age 14 with an Associate of Science in biology, will be inducted into the 2011 Santa Ana College Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony is slated for Friday, May 20 in Santa Ana College’s Phillips Hall at 3:30 p.m. The celebration will be followed by a reception in the adjacent patio area.

Nguyen, who is a fellow in the Department of Cardiology at University Medical Center (UMC) in Tucson, AZ, entered Santa Ana College to begin pursuing his goal to become not just a cardiologist, but to cure heart disease. He was inspired in part by doctors who saved his father's life. Although he had developed a reputation as a trouble maker in middle school, he found an ally in Pete Maddox, then president of the Rancho Santiago Community College District Board of Trustees, and Dr. Eddie Hernandez, then vice chancellor of academic affairs.

According to Maddox, "James...proved himself immediately. During his first semester, James formed the pre-med club, became a student senator, and worked as a math tutor, often tutoring students twice his age."

He entered the University of California, Irvine at age 14 and made the Dean's List every quarter. Maddox continued, "In 2000, when James Nguyen's friends were graduating high school, he was graduating from the University of California, Irvine – with honors."

He returned to Santa Ana College as an instructional assistant in physiology from 2000-2002, until he entered St. George's University. It was there Nguyen said he hit his first real competition. "I always want to be at the top, but when you get into medical school, there is always someone who outshines you." But that just made him up his game.

Upon graduating in 2006 at age 23, he entered a three-year residency program in the Department of Internal Medicine at Orlando Regional Medical Center.

During his residency, Nguyen spent his "spare time" conducting research. His research titled, "Multi-Slice Computed Tomography versus Stress Test on Low Risk Chest Pain Patients," won top honors in the regional competition for the American College of Physicians Florida Chapter.

He presented his research to the American Heart Association in 2007, where it was noted that his study "has enormous application potential." Nguyen was selected to present his research at the National American College of Physicians Internal Medicine 2009 Conference. Out of 420 resident-presenters from the nation's top-tier health care institutions, including the Mayo Clinic and Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Nguyen was selected the National American College of Physicians Champion. That year he also was certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. He was 25 years old.

Nguyen served as Chief Resident in the Department of Internal Medicine at the UMC inTucson, AZ from 2009-2010. He will complete a three-year fellowship in the Department of Cardiology in 2013. On January 8, 2011, Nguyen was the cardiologist on call at UMC and assisted the victims of the mass shooting in Tucson, AZ.

Nguyen's American experience began when his family arrived in the United States in the mid 1970s and settled in Garden Grove after the fall of Vietnam. "In fact, my mother said, 'When my son is born, I am going to name him 'Jimmy' in honor of (then) President Jimmy Carter, but I was officially named James and called "Jimmy" at home. I am among many kids born in the United States who had opportunities that we would not have had in Vietnam."

About Santa Ana College
Part of Rancho Santiago Community College District, Santa Ana College serves nearly 40,000 credit and non-credit students each semester and offers 136 certificate and associate degree programs. This mission of the Rancho Santiago Community College District (RSCCD) is to respond to the educational needs of an ever-changing community and to provide programs and services that reflect academic excellence. Santa Ana College and Santiago Canyon College are public community colleges of RSCCD, which serves the residents of Anaheim Hills, East Garden Grove, Irvine, Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin and Villa Park. Both colleges provide education for academic transfer and careers, courses for personal and professional development, customized training for business and industry, and programs to train nurses, firefighters and law enforcement personnel.

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Media Contact(s):
Judy Iannaccone, RSCCD Director of Communications, (714) 480-7503 or