• By Dana Sparks

Discovery’s Edge: Achieving his dream of becoming a biomedical researcher

July 11, 2017

Yeng Her spent the first 10 years of his life in a refugee camp. When his family arrived in America, he did not speak English and had never attended a formal school. Motivated by early hardships, he was determined to make a better life for himself and his family.

On May 20, 2017 he graduated from Mayo Clinic’s Medical Scientist Training Program, becoming the first Hmong American with both an M.D. and a Ph.D. (in biochemistry and molecular biology), according to Hmong St. Paul, a blog that tracks Hmong Americans who have received a doctorate.

“I want my story to be an example of many people’s journey to achieve the American dream,” he says. “We’re just like any other immigrants who came to this country before us. We’re looking for opportunities.”

Like many immigrants, Her has used education as a path to success. The combined M.D.-Ph.D. program, offered by Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, trained him to be a physician-scientist able to translate scientific discoveries into applications that improve patient care.

Along the way, collaborative initiatives by Mayo Clinic and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to increase diversity among investigators in both basic science and clinical research supported his aspirations. Read the rest of the story.
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