News Seth Stratton | one year ago

A Promise Leads to a Better Future

How a girl from Thailand became a doctor for Carolinas HealthCare System.

As a young girl growing up in Thailand, Paveena Posang, MD, cared for her aunt, Sumboon, who had cancer. Before her beloved Sumboon died, Posang promised her aunt she would become a nurse one day. Posang, who moved to the United States in 1981, fulfilled that promise and graduated from nursing school. Ultimately, though, she would go on to become a doctor.
Paveena Posang, MD, emigrated with her mother (at right) and other siblings from Thailand in 1981. She later earned her nursing degree and became a doctor and served for four years in the U.S. Air Force. Paveena Posang, MD, emigrated with her mother (at right) and other siblings from Thailand in 1981. She later earned her nursing degree and became a doctor and served for four years in the U.S. Air Force.
Paveena Posang, MD Paveena Posang, MD, is a family medicine physician at Carolinas HealthCare Urgent Care - Mooresville. While in medical school, she listened to her lectures five times over to help her learn and speak English. 
“I wanted to go to medical school so bad,” she says. “When I went on an interview, a physician told me my English was so terrible that he thought I couldn’t make it through medical school. I said, ‘Sir, I know my English is bad. I’m working so hard. Every class I take, my lectures, I listen to them five times or more. The only thing I ask from you is for a chance.” She got it. With much hard work, Posang – now Dr. Posang – is a primary care and urgent care doctor at Carolinas HealthCare Urgent Care – Mooresville. The path leading to her current position was a colorful one. Dr. Posang moved from Thailand to West Virginia as a teenager with her mother, older brother and two younger sisters. After high school, she attended the West Virginia University School of Nursing. When she graduated in 1988, she went to work at a hospital in Charleston, WV. One year later, she discovered Cross Country Nursing, a program that sends nurses to places that need medical assistance. “My first assignment was Hurricane Hugo,” says Dr. Posang. “I (later) went to a little town in Kansas with only two crossroads. As nurses, we took care of so many patients. I wished I could do more for them; that made me realize I wanted to go back to school to become a doctor.” And so she did. After she graduated West Virginia University School of Medicine in 1995, she started residency, also training in Charleston. In 1998, her older brother, Dr. Yuthapong Sukkasem, graduated from the same medical school and started a family practice in Salisbury, NC. The two worked side by side for seven years. In the back of her mind, Posang continued to remember a promise she had made herself when she moved to the US as a teenager: to do something for the country that allowed her to flourish. In 2010, Posang joined the U.S. Air Force. She was stationed at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, VA, for four years. “Before we came to the US, we didn’t have a chance to go to school because it was so expensive,” says Dr. Posang. “So, when we came to the US, we vowed to do something for our new country. While in the Air Force, I fell in love with urgent care and family medicine. So, when Carolinas HealthCare System announced they were looking for somebody to do both at their new hybrid site in Mooresville, I jumped at the opportunity. I started in May of 2014 and have been there ever since.” Posang celebrates her 25th wedding anniversary with her husband, Tommy, this year. She says she’s filled with gratitude and enjoys passing on her wisdom to her nephews and nieces. “I always tell them, ‘You can do anything you want, but you have to have honor. You have to do the right things even when no one is looking,” says Dr. Posang. “You have to take that chance – that one chance somebody gives you – don’t throw it away.”