Dr. Thevy S. Chai is a physician who specializes in student health and infection control.
Dr. Chai first came to UNC as an undergraduate student, and immediately loved the people and the thriving energy of the campus. She studied biology, volunteered at UNC Hospital and was involved in the Honor Court for three years, eventually becoming a Vice-Chair. Her volunteer experiences at UNC Hospital and other local Raleigh hospitals combined with her interest to help others, fostered her interest in medicine. When she was accepted to UNC Medical School, becoming a doctor seemed like it was meant to be – she got to study medicine, stay near her hometown of Raleigh, and continue her studies at the institution she loves.
After her residency at UNC Family Medicine and a month-long rotation at Campus Health under the tutelage of now-retired Dr. Bruce Vukoson, she became very interested in student health. Dr. Vukoson was a great mentor and she hopes that one day she will inspire a student to go into the field of student health as well. She loves the stage of life students are in and she finds them open to new ideas and behavior changes.
Dr. Chai enjoys travel and experiencing other cultures. She has backpacked through Western Europe and has traveled to Asia and Canada. When visiting a new place, she enjoys interacting with the local people, trying local foods, and attending their local farmer’s markets.
Travelling fits with her professional interests of student health and infection control. Sometimes Dr. Chai feels that practicing at Campus Health is like practicing “global medicine.” Because our students hail from all over the globe and also travel abroad, students sometimes bring uncommon illnesses back with them. Dr. Chai and her colleagues at Campus Health must stay alert to the potential of these diseases when students are seen. Once potential diseases are identified, steps are taken to help treat the patient but also to keep the rest of the UNC community as safe as possible.
When several students present to Campus Health with similar symptoms, Dr. Chai starts to look into communicable diseases that might be happening in pockets of our population. “It keeps me on the pulse of our student community,” she said. Her work connects her with the Orange County Health Department, UNC Hospital, UNC health science schools, and the University Employee Occupational Health team regarding infection control issues and potential outbreaks. She works closely with Michelle Camarena, RN (co-chair of the Infection Control Committee), Dr. Covington, nurse leaders and the rest of the Infection Control Committee members to help ensure our population is kept healthy.
Advice for Students
When asked if she had any advice for students, she said, “Surround yourself with positive people as a support network, and remember that Campus Health is here to help you however we can.”
Come see for yourself
Dr. Chai works in the Primary Care clinic on the main floor of Campus Health.