UW Hmong-American Nurse Brings Her Community to the Doctor’s Office

August 4, 2017 | By Eric Hamilton | UW News

Maichou Lor, PhD
Maichou Lor, PhD

“Throughout my whole life, I saw a lot of inequalities and injustice in issues surrounding health care,” says Lor, “not just among the Hmong population. It’s the Cambodian population, the Laotian population, a lot of Southeast Asian populations who have gone through the same kind of history that we have are also struggling.”

Maichou Lor, who received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Nursing, was born in a refugee camp in Thailand before her family immigrated to Madison. As she pursued nursing, starting in high school, Lor discovered that the Hmong immigrant community lacked access to major medical care because low rates of literacy and English proficiency kept their health status murky. In an interdisciplinary research program, Lor developed new survey tools that respond to the needs of the Hmong, which she hopes can help close gaps in access to care among her own community and other underserved populations. Lor, whose advisor is Barbara Bowers, associate dean for research at the School of Nursing, is the first Hmong-American nurse to earn a PhD in the United States.

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