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Eye Health: The Family Business

Elizabeth Hoang, OD, of Stafford, Texas, watched and learned as her mother Vivian Hoang, OD, ran her practice inside a Walmart Vision Center in La Marque, Texas, through a sublease arrangement with National Vision, Inc. As a teen, she would serve as the secretary and help around the office in her summers off, and when she decided to pursue optometry school at her mother’s alma mater, University of Houston College of Optometry, the family legacy was passed on.

When it came time to decide a career path in college, Dr. Elizabeth Hoang’s mother inspired her to find her true passion. Dr. Elizabeth Hoang’s strengths were always social interactions and compassion to take care of others, with a business mind. Therefore, optometry was the perfect fit—reinforcing the adage that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. She says that she lives by a Confucius quote: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” That’s how she feels, saying “I absolutely love what I do.”

Originally, Dr. Elizabeth Hoang’s plan was to eventually take over her mother’s sublease after working with her for some years, but when the opportunity arose for her to take on her own sublease with National Vision, she took it, expanding the family legacy a bit more. National Vision operates three Walmart Vision Center sublease locations in Texas; the mother-daughter duo have two of them. Starting with a subleased location is a great business opportunity because of the name recognition and almost immediate patient base. “It was a blessing,” she says. “I graduated in 2018 and had been practicing for two years. I didn’t foresee myself becoming a business owner so soon.” But with her mother’s guidance and support from National Vision, she felt ready.

DESTINED OPPORTUNITY

elizabeth hoang
Dr. Elizabeth Hoang demonstrates the new safety procedures put in place to protect patients and staff.

Like many ODs, Dr. Elizabeth Hoang found that in optometry school, there was not as much emphasis on learning to be a business owner as the focus is on clinical care. However, she was at an advantage after having spent so much time in her mother’s office. “I had learned the business side and also how to interact with patients as the owner and how to talk to them.” Dr. Elizabeth Hoang is a believer in educating patients on their overall health and how it affects their eye health. From discussing diabetes to blood pressure and cholesterol, she sees the whole patient. “Many patients don’t have a primary care physician, and I try to instill the value of primary care in them,” she says. “It’s about doing the best for your patients.”

FROM ENGINEERING TO OPTOMETRY

Dr. Vivian Hoang did not have as straightforward a path to optometry as her daughter. In fact, she spent the first half of her career as a computer engineering contractor for NASA. When she was thinking of a career change, the medical field was in the forefront of her mind; she comes from a family that includes several physicians. Finding a calling and practical element to optometry, she dropped off her optometry school application. The dean, who happened to be a neighbor to the family, encouraged her to take a rigorous course load of prerequisites to see if she could handle the demanding curriculum.

After graduating, she connected with National Vision through what she calls destiny. At first, she was working for NASA still as a subcontractor and was able to spend part of her time working with an OD couple in their Walmart locations one day a week. As fate would have it, one decided to open her own practice, leaving their La Marque practice available. “She asked if I wanted to take over her practice, but I wasn’t sure,” Dr. Vivian Hoang recalls. “She said, ‘You’ve been managing millions of dollars for NASA—do it for yourself.’” She agreed, and after being connected with National Vision, she was able to take over the sublease and start right away. She has never regretted her career change.

vivian elizabeth hoang
Dr. Vivian Hoang “hoods” her daughter Dr. Elizabeth Hoang at her commencement ceremony, welcoming her to the optometry profession.

When Dr. Elizabeth Hoang received a call from a National Vision recruiter who was searching for a doctor to sublease the Stafford location, she was hesitant but quickly changed her mind when she consulted with her mother, who told her, “If you don’t take this, I will.”

Dr. Vivian Hoang says, “The National Vision community has been so supportive. I have nothing but good things to say about the company. I feel like I am independent here, but I get a lot of support.” On top of being a mentor for her daughter, Dr. Hoang spends a lot of time mentoring and teaching young patients and high schoolers to aim high and understand the value of education and how to prepare for admission to a health professionals program.

“[I am a] child of the Vietnam War,” she says. “We came here empty-handed. We all worked hard, studied hard and got scholarships. This is the land of opportunity, and I use that experience to educate teenagers—starting with my own daughter, who I am now so proud to call a colleague.”

See more of the doctors’ social media pages: Instagram @theeyedocduo and Facebook: facebook.com/theeyedocduo.

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