Shreveport surgeon to be awarded 2014 Ellis Island Medal of Honor

Apr 22, 2014

Two LSU Health Shreveport physicians are among more than 100 people who will be honored in May as recipients of this year’s Ellis Island Medal of Honor.  The ceremony will take place on the historic New York City island.

Dr. Quyen Chu, chief of surgical oncology at LSU Health Shreveport, will receive the 2014 Ellis Island Medal of Honor on May 10.
Credit Kate Archer Kent

The award is given annually by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations to a U.S. immigrant or native-born citizen who has made significant contributions to society.

Dr. Quyen Chu is chief of surgical oncology at LSU Health Shreveport. His family fled Vietnam in 1975, when he was seven.

Today, the Brown University-trained physician makes regular trips to developing countries with fellow Shreveport surgeons. He says values instilled in him by his father made all the difference in his ambitions, especially on the trip to an unknown land in search of freedom.

“My father was a barber, and he was trying to raise a family of five at that time on a barber’s income. Throughout my growing up he has always instilled in me true principles of what makes this country great,” Chu said.

Chu will travel to Kurdistan in May as part of a continuing effort to teach surgeons there – and in other countries, like Vietnam and Nicaragua -- how to remove parts of the liver and pancreas in cancer patients.

He says the Ellis Island Medal of Honor speaks to his belief in doing what’s right and making the world a better place for all.

“We as physicians can be good ambassadors to these countries to let them know this is what America is about. We’re not about just military might, but also humanitarian endeavors,” Chu said.

Chu joins the ranks of other famous Ellis Island Award recipients, including six former U.S. presidents and Nobel Prize winners.

Tomorrow, a profile of LSU Health Shreveport neonatologist Dr. Arun Pramanik who will also receive the award at the May 10 ceremony on Ellis Island.