University HealthCare Alliance

November 04, 2019

Nicole Ngyuen | Collaborative Primary Care Los Gatos

Nicole Nguyen is a Care Navigator for Collaborative Primary Care Los Gatos.  She was nominated for the Wellness Spotlight Award by her colleague, Aimee So.

Her colleague shared: “Nicole is informative, caring and friendly with patients over the phone and in person. She goes above and beyond for all of our patients. Nicole is active in the community and volunteers as a special date at a special needs program. She helps with Second Harvest food bank and is currently starting another volunteer opportunity. This time, she included our team to join in for a back-to-school backpack give away.  She stays active at Orange Theory Gym, attends UHA Hikes the Bay and her laughter is contagious. What an amazing person Nicole is!”

Read below to learn more about Nicole’s inspirational journey of wellness.

Q. Tell me about your wellness journey?

A. Well, I had knee surgery last fall.  Since then, I couldn’t exercise like I did before and gained 10-15 lbs.  I started by dealing with my diet first. I started a program, Whole 30, that’s based on food elimination of all sugar, carbs and legumes.  Basically, I ended up cooking all meals that I ate. Then you slowly get to reintroduce foods and see how your body reacts to them. It helped me pinpoint the foods that don’t work well in my body.  Like, I really like cheese and noticed that it doesn’t work for me.

Q. What effect does cheese have on you?

A. I get headaches and feel bloated. I still eat it, but not as much. Now, I know the effect of certain foods on me. 

Q. In Aimee’s nomination, she described a lot of your volunteer activities.  What makes you so enthusiastic about your volunteer efforts?

A. When I was a child, nonprofits helped my family. My mom was a single mom with four children.  Food banks really helped us.  We also got gift donations for Christmas. Since I was 14, I volunteered with Second Harvest Food Bank. Now, I organize our clinic to give back two times a year, for Christmas and just before school begins with a school supply and backpack drive. At Christmas time, we have a family giving tree where you grab a tag and purchase that item. We have a similar set up for the backpack drive.

Q. What inspires you?

A. I feel so blessed not to think about where my next meal is coming from.  I’ve been there and I don’t want anyone to feel that way.  If you’re a little girl and it’s Christmas, you’ve been good all year and still believe in Santa, then you want that gift.  I don’t want anyone to feel that sense of disappointment. 

Congratulations Nicole and thank you Aimee for recognizing such an inspirational colleague!