A Reflection on Asian Culture

UConn Health Pharmacist Tiana Tran shares an essay for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

family portrait at Tết celebration

From left: UConn Health pharmacist Tiana Tran celebrates Tết with her sister, Viviana Tran, mother, Bachloan Phan, and father, Thoi Tran, February 2024. (Photo provided by Tiana Tran)

Tiana Tran portrait white coat
Tiana Tran is a UConn Health pharmacist. (Photo by Tina Encarnacion)

Growing up as a Vietnamese American, Vietnamese culture was perpetually ingrained into my home life. While both my sister and I were born in America, our parents made sure to include our culture in our childhoods. We were raised speaking Vietnamese and we spent quality time with our grandparents, which helped to solidify our language skills. We listened to Vietnamese music, played Vietnamese board games, and learned the history of our family. We enjoyed Vietnamese dishes nearly every day and celebrated Vietnamese traditions such as welcoming our departed ancestors home to eat dinner with us as well as colorful Lunar New Year festivities with family. As a result, my culture is very integral to my identity and I am proud of who I am.

Today, my family and I still perpetuate these traditions; just this February, my family got together and celebrated Tết, the Lunar New Year, in our own special way. I feel very grateful that my family and my culture are so present in my life.

A large part of my culture, and most East Asian, Southeast Asian, and South Asian cultures, revolves around community and family. In the spring, we celebrate Tết with our loved ones. We welcome the new year, full of new beginnings and good fortune, with our community. The celebrations are a chance for everyone to become closer and for communities to get together. It’s a chance for us to appreciate our roots, pay respects to our ancestors, and share well wishes for the new year with our loved ones.

With May’s arrival and spring in full bloom, I reflect upon the community I am a part of at UConn Health, and the immense pride I feel for working in and with a health system that truly cares for everyone. I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunities I have received that allowed me to contribute to the health care system as a pharmacist. This spring, I reflect on my identity and my culture, and how I am so proud of my heritage because it has made me the person I am today.

This May, I reflect on my roots, how my loved ones, my ancestors, and my culture have led me to where I am now. To everyone who has Asian or Pacific Islander heritage, I am so proud to see us represented at UConn Health, where we work together to cultivate a community of care in our health care system.

And to everyone in general, I invite you to do the same and reflect on your roots, and how they have led you to where you are today. Happy Asian American Heritage Month!

Tiana Tran, Pharm.D., is a 2022 graduate of the UConn School of Pharmacy. She completed her pharmacy residency at UConn Health a year later, and started as a staff pharmacist at UConn Health last August.