Dr. Nguyen has pursued a career that unites the humanitarian promise of medicine with the pursuit of social justice. This has guided her to public service and a vision of public health that is grounded in the universal values of equity, dignity, and compassion. Dr. Nguyen is the Assistant Health Officer for the State of California and the Director of Population Health at the California Department of Public Health. She oversees the Centers for Healthy Communities, Family Health, Environmental Health, and Health Statistics and Informatics. Prior to her appointment to this position by Governor Newsom, she was the Acting Deputy Director of the Population Health Division at the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) which is tasked with protecting and promoting the health of the City and County of San Francisco by providing core public health services, including health protection and promotion, disease and injury prevention, disaster preparedness and response, environmental health services, and community health epidemiology and surveillance. She was SFDPH’s Assistant Health Officer and Chronic Disease Physician Specialist from 2017-2022. In this role, she supported chronic disease and cancer prevention efforts for the City and County of San Francisco. This included supporting community-based initiatives, working collaboratively with health systems to advance population health, and informing efforts that promote policy, systems, and environmental changes that support health. She is the founder and Medical Director of the Food as Medicine Collaborative which seeks to bridge the divide between health systems and food systems to tackle food insecurity, support nutritional behavior change, and advance equity.
During the SFDPH COVID-19 pandemic response, Dr. Nguyen created the infrastructure for and led the Information and Guidance Branch which was responsible for creating all official SFDPH COVID-19 guidance for all sectors — childcare, schools, healthcare, service providers, businesses of all types — as well as for the general public.
Previous to joining SFDPH in 2017, she was the Medical Director of Healthy Food Initiatives for the Wellness Center at ZSFG where she spearheaded several projects that emphasized the importance of food and health including creating Food Pharmacies where patients can fill prescriptions for healthy diets written by their providers and a creating a transitional meal program that delivered medically tailored meals to patients discharged from ZSFG with heart failure.
She is a practicing hospitalist at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and an Assistant Clinical Professor at UCSF.