by Binh Tran, PharmD
The 2023 Lunar New Year Tết Celebration of the Vietnames Pharmacists Association (VPhA) in the USA took place on January 29th at the Diamond Seafood Palace #1 in Stanton, CA. The celebration was a success beyond expectation. Originally planning for a medium-sized gathering for the first in-person celebration since being curtailed by the pandemic, organizers were pleasantly surprised to host over 270 attendees including California's 70th District Assemblymember Tri Ta, California Pharmacists Association (CPhA) leaders, Deans and faculty of California schools of pharmacy, school officials, and student awardees.
Assemblymember Tri Ta remitted a Certificate of Recognition to VPhA-USA for "Dedication to Preserving and Showcasing Vietnamese-American Heritage in Our Community." CPhA CEO Susan Bonilla and President Richard Dang spoke on the growing partnership with VPhA-USA to enable beneficial actions for pharmacy owners and pharmacists practicing in all settings. Dr. Micah Hata, Coordinator of Community Services at Western University of Health Sciences and VPHA-USA Vice President for External Affairs, announced the student winners of the VPhA scholarship awards from each of the following pharmacy schools: American University of Health Sciences, Chapman University, Keck Graduate Institute, Loma Linda University, University of Southern California, UC San Francisco, UC San Diego, UC Irvine, and Western University.
For the entertainment portion of the event, songs were performed by pharmacists including a special performance on the theme of cherry blossoms. Mrs. Dong To, participating for the first time since Dr. To passed away, and Mrs. Penny Adler gave the customary Good Luck Red Envelopes to all pharmacists present. Dancing ensued until the end, interspersed with raffle ticket drawings.
We were honored with the presence of:
- Dr. and Mrs. David Adler, our first encounter, professor, and mentor during the 1984-1986 retraining of Vietnamese refugees from Saigon School of Pharmacy by UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy on the campus of UC San Diego. Dr. and Mrs. Adler drove all the way from San Diego, as did Dean Brookie Best, Dr. Jennifer Le, and two SSPPS student awardees of VPhA-USA scholarships, Michelle Tran (P2) and Phuong Tran (P3).
- Dean Jan Hirsch and Associate Deans Jonathan Watanabe and Megan Nguyen of UC Irvine School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
- Dr. Richard Dang of the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy.
- Dr. Clifford Young, Professor at the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy and past CPhA President, who passionately wishes to connect pharmacists working at all settings across the US.
- Dr. Elaine Nguyen, Assistant Dean at American University of Health Sciences School of Pharmacy.
- Mr. Rakib Haque from the Keck Graduate Institute.
- Dr. Parth Parikh, President of the Indian Pharmacists Association (IPA), former IPA President Manisha Patel, and Student Liaison Pooja Singh.
2022 was a productive year thanks to the wonderful dedication of the VPhA Board, the Executive Committee, and Student Liaisons with the pharmacy schools. It was reinvigorating too see the generations of pharmacists intermingling in meaningful ways. At the next term, it will be the turn of the younger generation of pharmacists to carry the torch to go forward.
Additional event photos may be viewed here.