What is the best part of studying in the United States? I would like to say that is having the chance to meet wonderful people. Feeling connected to the greater minds is a worthy reward for me to go such a long distance, half way around the world. Before going to the States, I had no clear vision about what I would like to do in the next 5 years. There was so much concern and anxiety about the past, the future and even the present. It was like walking in a fog of one gloomy winter day, being alone, turning round and round in a never ending circle. However, on a sunny Spring day in Lubbock, I have found the beginning of the path I am looking for.

Dr. DEBAJYOTI PATI, Associate Professor, Rockwell Endowment Professor – Interior Design – A wonderful teacher

Ms. ROSALYN CAMA, FASID, NCIDQ, EDAC, President and Principal Interior Designer of CAMA, INC in New Haven, Connecticut – An insightful mind

During my college years, I used to believe that design capacities are what distinguish human race from other species. My concept of design was the ultimate beauty that is above other considerations. It is obvious that talented architects and designers have created effective envelopes, such as houses and vehicles, to cover and protect people from negative natural conditions. However, instead of helping the communities live longer and healthier, the construction of houses and the operation of vehicles have severely affected living environment. There are many peer-reviewed articles and published research papers, which can prove that conventional design products, either in large scale or small scale, has failed to reserve natural resources as well as to sustain human living conditions. Therefore, the more I learn, the more doubful I become. I find myself keep wondering: “Does design really make human life better?”

Fortunately, thanks to the enthusiasm in teaching of Dr. Debajyoti Pati, my class has the valuable opportunity to join the discussion and the presentation about Evidence-based Healthcare design of Ms. Rosalyn Cama, founder of CAMA, Inc, which is one of the leading design studio in improving the living quality of the built environment. I have learnt that design is much more meaningful than superficial extraordinary appearances. According to Ms. Cama, the beauty in design should equal the human wellness. Therefore, effective design solutions are far more sophisticated than meet the eyes.

There is one special feature in the presentation of Ms. Cama, instead of using complicated terminologies, she described her design manifesto within one small story. The father of Ms. Cama’s friend had cancer and spent his three last days in an patient room which was carefully and thoughtfully designed. Before he passed away, he had experienced the joyfulness and relaxation. Therefore, he wanted to say thank to the person who had designed the room. After hearing this story, I realize that design really make human life better and the designers themselves have to take responsibility for that.
I also recall my childhood memories of my father, who is a surgeon with thirty years experience in the Vietnamese healthcare industry. At that time, we did not get on well together because he was rarely home. He worked too many night shifts and got too many midnight calls when his hospital was overloaded. Sometimes, when he was home, I found it hard to communicate with him because he always seemed to be irritated by the voice of his own children. I blamed him a lot for that. However, things het better lately because he has recently retired. Surprisingly, I have learnt how sweet and kind he is. We spend more time to talk and I understand that he was simply too tired after standing and concentrating at least eight hours per day. One year ago, my father had accident at work and his forehead was severely injured. Therefore, he had to stay at the patient room and my family gathered at the hospital to take care of him. This was the first time I came to my father’s workplace and it was an unpleasant experience. The indoor spaces are too dark because a part of the center courtyard has been renovated into small patient rooms. Moreover, the indoor air is tight and full of chemical ordor. As a result, either the patients or the staff are unhappy and resentful. Although, my father’s coleagues insited that he should stay longer in the patient room, my father decided to go home after a week. He never admited but my family knew that the hospital only made his illness worse.

Suddenly, I realize that the design of the hospital itself affects not only the patients and their families but also the staff and their beloved as well.

Everytime I think of the long time my father has been in the healthcare industry, I get confused because of the poor conditions in his workplace. However, in my father’s opinion, being a surgeon is not only a way to earn a living but also a belief in making life better for others. Although I have come to the United States to study, my father and me have much more time to talk than we did in the past. We now start to get to know each other all over again.

It is a pleasure to accompany with people, who have visions and abilities to make their dream come true. Spring has come to Lubbock on the blooming flowers and on the smiles of my classmate, too.


All the photos, graphics and contents on this page are our own creations unless stated otherwise


  1. Mabel Kwong

    “the beauty in design should equal the human wellness.” What a profound statement by Ms Cama, and you used your father’s story to illustrate it so beautifully. Very sorry he hurt himself last year but glad that he is okay now. When the place and structure around us makes us feel confined or suffocated, it is hard to focus on what we’re doing – we’re essentially always watching our back or thinking of being somewhere else.

    These are such lovely photos of your college, lecturers and classmates. You look very sophisticated in your outfit 🙂 ❤

    • vothikhanhhoa

      Dear Mabel, you always give me insightful comments on most of my posts. You are absolutely right, Ms. Cama puts the humanities in the center of her manifesto in design, therefore, she is really a game changer that I love to look up to.

  2. Tom Schultz

    This is such an uplifting post to start my week with. Thanks for sharing. You have a gift for communicating and I hope you continue to share with your readers. I’m glad you’re finding your educational experience to be rewarding while here in the U.S. Finding some inspiring teachers, as you have, makes all the difference!

  3. Anan

    Dear Hoa,

    This is the first time I finish your writing 🙂 honestly It’s more meaningful and interesting than others I read before. It’s so happy to know that you have a good life there to meet anwsome persons and talented teachers. Thank you for your sharing ^^ It gives me a lot of information about the value of design in improving health of human. Honestly, I used to think about design, in some case, bring negative effects to out living environment, but now we can sure that good design can help a lot, not only supply good service and nice view.
    Hope u enjoy the beauty of spring there ^^ the weather’s still hot and hotter day by day.

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