portrait of Connie Kim Yen Nguyen-Truong
Dr. Connie Kim Yen Nguyen-Truong

Connie Kim Yen Nguyen-Truong, PhD, RN, an assistant professor at the Washington State University College of Nursing in Vancouver, is being honored with the 2020 Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Award from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Nguyen-Truong is the first person in the WSU College of Nursing to be recognized by the AACN for this prestigious national award.

AACN hailed Nguyen-Truong’s work for representing “transformative, culturally sensitive advances in teaching and learning for the benefit of nursing and other disciplines.”

Nguyen-Truong has two decades of nursing experience and has been a nurse educator for 15 years. Her research and teaching focuses on cultural immersion experiences and enhancing communications between nursing faculty and students and representatives of minority communities, including Micronesian Islanders, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, and Laotian partners. She has developed innovative, culturally safe, linguistically appropriate engagement and educational curriculums and models.

Nguyen-Truong is one of two directors of the Health & Education Program for Micronesian Islanders and the Director of the Culturally Safe Didactic Dialogues Program. She is a Senior Fellow of the Asian Pacific Islander Community Leadership Institute and a board member of the Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization and its Asian Family Center, located in Oregon and serving communities there and in Southwest Washington.

“Dr. Connie Nguyen-Truong’s outreach methods help engage minority communities in academic research as well as in community-building programs,” said Dr. Mary Koithan, Dean of the WSU College of Nursing. “She creates an environment of mutual respect and cultural sensitivity, enabling discussions of difficult subjects.”

Nguyen-Truong’s work with Oregon’s Micronesian Islander community, for example, has facilitated communications regarding historical trauma and the immigration experience. Oregon is thought to have the largest concentration of migrants from the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau on the U.S. mainland, but language barriers, health conditions and cultural norms can make it difficult for newcomers to fit in and thrive. Nguyen-Truong has successfully pursued grant funding to work with members of the Micronesian Islander community to identify challenges and locally tailored solutions. This includes a recent partnership with Katherine Rodela at the WSU College of Education and the Clark County Latino Youth Conference organization to expand working with Latinx and Micronesian Islanders in the Pacific Northwest at the intersection of health and education.

“Dr. Nguyen-Truong’s contributions reflect a very rare combination of continuous scholarly achievement and pragmatic, collaborative success to materially improve nursing education quality, policy, and standards,” AACN said in announcing the award.