Board of Directors

Thien-Nhien Luong, MPH, President

Phuong-Lien Ngo-Nguyen, RN, MSN, Secretary

Cathy Lam, Treasurer

Quynh Kieu, MD

Thu-Le Doan

Vi Tuong Nguyen

Gigi Nelson

Thien Nhien Luong, MPH serves as President. She co-founded the Friends of Hue Foundation (FHF), served on the Board of Directors from 1999-2013 and as the Executive Director from 2008-2013. She co-founded Design Capital Asia in 2013 to focus on integrated development approaches across fields and sectors including social entrepreneurship development. She has supported many NGOs over a decade. She has been Principle Researcher behind Healthy Initiatives through Peer Education (HIPE) that offers health education led by school-age peer health educators in 77 schools and 33 high risk communities in central Vietnam. Luong holds a B.A. degree in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from UCSB and M.P.H specializing in Epidemiology, HIV/AIDS, and International Health from UCLA’s School of Public Health. She has had over 15 years of experience in Public Health, Health Promotion, Disease Control and Prevention, Program Management, Planning, Research and Evaluation, Community Development, Capacity Building, Emergency Preparedness, and International Health consulting. She worked for the Santa Clara County Public Health Department for close to 10 years and had held various positions there including Chief Epidemiologist and Sr. Health Care Program Manager.

Phuong-Lien Ngo-Nguyen, RN, MSN serves as Secretary. She was born and raised in South Vietnam and has been in the US since 1970. She earned her BSN from Incarnate World College and MSN from University of Phoenix. She has worked in hospitals for over 35 years as a Registered Nurse in ICU and also IV therapy/Interventional Cardiology/House Supervisor. She has been a lecturer at San Diego State University for 10 years and is currently at California State San Marcos, School of Nursing. Besides her work, she is passionate about helping others. She has participated in medical/educational mission trips to Vietnam. In the United States, Lien has volunteered for Fresh Start and has been active in Vietnamese communities. She also teams up with ConnectMed International – Surgical assistance to the program at the Hospital de California in Tijuana helping indigent children with deformities. Since 2012, Lien has taken Nursing students to Vietnam for international, educational and cultural learning experiences, in collaboration with Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Nursing to help both US and VN nursing students improve cultural awareness and sensitivity. She is actively involved with other charity organizations in scholarship programs to nursing students from poor families with high academic standing.

Cathy Lam serves as Treasurer, Chair for Board Development & Membership Committee. As Co-Founding Our1World in 2005, Lam is an advocate of environmental sustainability. She was actively involved with the Soymilk Nutritional Supplement program in Central Vietnam from 2005-2007. Our1World projects include Solar Energy Appliances SEA including Photovoltaic Solar Ceiling Fans, Bep Lo Xanh Rocket Stove to reduce deforestation while aiming at reducing indoor air pollution health risks, Tràm Gió Melaleuca Habitat Restoration with native species. Our1world partners with several organizations for training youth in a PSA Public Service Announcements media video project – Making Healthy Choices, Building Healthy Communities. Cathy holds workshops annually in Vietnam with the VANGO Network to teach Nutrition and Healthy Living with an emphasis on the environment and marine conservation to students and early childhood educators. She was a former board member of the Newport Bay Conservancy, advocating on watershed issues, plastic pollution, preservation and restoration of natural habitat. She is on the advisory board for Project Vietnam Foundation, La Mirada HS Solar and Green Tech Academy in engaging youth in leadership in environment sustainability. Cathy holds a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of California in Irvine.

Quynh Kieu, MD is President & Founder of Project Vietnam Foundation, and is a pediatrician and lifelong advocate for children. She has held various leadership positions at the Orange County Medical Association, California Medical Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics AAP. Quynh and Chan Kieu founded Project Vietnam in 1996 as an international project of the AAP. It has brought thousands of volunteers through 2 medical mission trips annually to serve rural areas–32 provinces to date, providing surgical repairs for children with facial deformities and eye defects, primary care services at remote clinics and schools, and medical training for healthcare personnel. The flagship project is the Newborn Care Initiative which has updated national guidelines for Newborn Health and brought a Neonatal Resuscitation Training to 85% of the provinces in Vietnam. Project Vietnam Foundation has received copyrights from the AAP for multiple training programs in Neonatal care, Disaster management, and the Pediatric First Aid for caregivers. PVNF is the lead organization for the Health Education Initiative of VANGO Network.

Thu-Le Doan co-founded Vietnamese American Scholarship Fund (VASF) and the Center for the Encouragement of Self-Reliance (CESR) VASF. She is a trustee of the Vietnamese American Scholarship Fund (VASF) since 1988 and the Center for the Encouragement of Self-Reliance (CESR) since 1997. Over more than 20 years, VASF has built many schools and awarded several thousand scholarships and scholars grants both inside and outside Vietnam. CESR and VASF have provided matching grants to many Vietnamese American NGOs to provide clean water, build schools and toilet facilities, and orthopedic and cataract surgeries. Since 1999, CESR has operated Trung Tâm Khuyến Khích Tự Lập (TTKKTL) in Hue to provide scholarships and warm clothes to thousands of children, build kindergarten schools, assist flood victims, and provide micro-loans to more than 20,000 families in over 35 communities. Currently TTKKTL collaborates with local communities to build restroom facilities at marketplaces and commits to Swim to Survive training to 10,000 children over the next 10 years to reduce cases of drowning in Hue’s perennial floods. CESR also providing funding for capacity building and Counter-Trafficking Challenge Grant (CTCG) to many VA NGOs. The United Nations conferred to TTKKTL the UN Habitat – Civil Society Innovation Award in 2008. Doan holds a Bachelor degree in Sociology from Rutgers University and has been a Chairman of the Board of PAI Corporation in Tennessee since 1983.

Vi Tuong Nguyen is Director, Wafer MFG IT at Western Digital Corporation in Fremont, California. She has volunteered for over 30 years with grass root organizations in various capacities. In 1984, Vi co-founded the Vietnamese Student Association (VNSA) at the UC Santa Cruz in 1984, local chapter of the Committee Against Forced Repatriation (CAFR) in 1989, and the Vietnamese American Youth for the Future (VAYF) in 1991. From 1993 to 2004, she joined the Aid to Children Without Parents (ACWP) and has served some 3,000 refugee children and children without parents annually through various capacities including Editor, Financial/Program Director, and Executive Director. From 2005 to 2008, she has joined the Board of Directors of Pacific Links Foundation to work with the VANGO Network initiative and to assist the ADAPT project with its financial requirements. Vi holds a BA in computer and information science from University of California Santa Cruz.

Gigi Nelson is pleased to serve as a new Board Member of the Vietnamese American Non-Governmental Organization Network (VANGO). In addition, Ms. Nelson serves on the Board of Advisors for the Aspire Change Foundation, a nonprofit organization, and PESA, a grassroots Public Benefit Company and first Social-change Media company focused on global climate change. From 2003 until 2021, she founded and served as President of Synergy Solutions, Incorporated, a U.S. government contracting firm specializing in program and project management; safeguards and security; cybersecurity; and environmental, safety, health, and training services. Prior to Synergy, she was the Pollution Prevention and Environmental Management System Coordinator, Hazardous Response Team Safety Officer, and member of the Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team at the NASA Ames Research Center as well as a certified quality examiner for the Malcolm Baldrige-based Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence (TNCPE). Ms. Nelson previously served on the Board of Directors for the Energy, Technology, and Environmental Business Association (ETEBA-TN) and East Tennessee Economic Council (ETEC). She also served on the Oak Ridge Service Unit leadership team for the Girl Scouts Council of the Southern Appalachia and volunteered as a Troop Administrator and Girl Mentor for 10 years. Ms. Nelson has an M.A. in Environmental Sustainability and a B.S. in Resource Management.


Anh Kim Tran co-founded Pacific Links Foundation and is currently the Early Childhood Education Consultant for Mầm Non Lá Xanh/GreenLeaf Learning Center in HCMC. Previously, Ánh was a Program Specialist for Asian Services at BANANAS Resource Center in Oakland, California. With her extensive experience in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECCE) training in the US, she spearheads the ECCE training programs conducted by the Pacific Links Foundation for early childhood educators throughout Vietnam, through collaboration with provincial education offices and teacher training colleges. Since 2010, Ánh has participated with the VANGO Network to provide HEI PedFACTS Training from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for teachers in Vietnam. She authors “Nuôi dạy trẻ vui mạnh: A Parenting Guide” for Vietnamese American parents, published by ICAN in May 2007. She is Co-Founder of Viet Nam Health, Education & Literature Projects (VNHELP) and served on its Board of Directors 1991-2001. Ánh also served on the Board of Directors of Asian Health Services in California.