Choua Thao was the first Hmong woman to be trained as a nurse during the Secret War of Laos. She was one of the very first Hmong girls to go to school and was able to learn English. At the age of 13, Thao was recruited by the International Volunteer Service to join a one-year nursing program. After she went to Thailand to train for two more years at the U.S. Udon Military Hospital. With her ability to speak several languages fluently she was able to work with doctors to help treat wounded veterans. She would go on to help trained another 250 Hmong women nurses over the next eight years. In 1969 when she was 22 years old she was asked to oversee the busy American Sam Thong Hospital.
When Thao arrived in America she was one of the first Hmong woman to attend and graduate from an university. Over the past 40 years she had been a community leader and help started several Hmong American and Hmong Women organizations.
Listen to this amazing documentary interview with Choua Thao by the Hmongstory 40 Exhibit.