Meet the doctors behind Southeast’s growing Matthews-Vu clinic
Dr. Richard Vu’s mission in life is driven by three things: His family, his practice and his faith.
“We have two priorities,” said Vu, a soft-spoken physician with just the slightest hint of an accent. “Our first priority is to honor God and our second is to take care of both our patients and our staff.”
Vu founded Matthews-Vu Medical Group with his wife, pediatrician Dr. Shabnum -Vu. The couple met in medical school at Northwestern University, and while completing their medical training at inner-city Chicago hospitals, they made a pact: They would someday open a clinic in an underserved, economically developing community. The facility would be supported by their private-insurance clinics, and regardless of insurance status, all patients would be treated with the same level of dignity, care and respect.
That vision came true almost two decades later, when doctors Vu and Mathews-Vu purchased then-Value Care on Colorado Springs’ Southeast side. The sale closed on March 1, and the clinic absorbed Value Care’s 4,200-patient base without interruption.
The clinic, located at 1050 S. Academy Blvd., recently added behavioral health to its primary and pediatric care roster, but Vu said there is still room to grow.
“We have two priorities. Our first priority is to honor God and our second is to take care of both our patients and our staff.” – Dr. Richard Vu
He envisions a multi-faceted clinic that could offer everything from urgent care and family practice to internal medicine and pediatric care.
“Southeast is going to be a big location for us in the future,” Vu said. “We want services in that are to provide multi-specialty care anchored by primary care.”
“We care about our patients and want to do the best for them, no matter what,” Matthews-Vu added.
Vu’s altruistic vision is rooted in his origin story. He was born in Vietnam and practiced Buddhism during his earliest years. His family moved to Chicago when he was just 12, where they made the types of difficult decisions his clients could face on any given day.
He found a calling when he met Shabnum Matthews. A fellow medical student and practicing Christian from the Los Angeles area, she introduced him to her family and her faith.
“Since then, I’ve been trying to live my life in that way,” Vu said. “I wake up every morning as a Christian. I wake up every morning as a husband and a father. I wake up every morning as a doctor.
“I myself have been able to find a way to balance those three areas because the three areas coexist.”
“We care about our patients and want to do the best for them, no matter what.” — Dr. Shabnum Matthews-Vu
When the couple moved to Colorado Springs in 2004 and became acquainted with Southeast, they knew they not only found their personal home but also a community where they could fulfill that service pledge made years prior.
Matthews-Vu Site Manager Cory Acarese founded Value Care Health Clinic in 2014, when primary care in Southeast was slim to non-existent. Today, the neighborhood is home to a multi-specialty Peak Vista Community Health clinic, and mental health provider Aspen Pointe offers youth services and training via a campus at 1795 Jet wing Drive.
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** Behavioral health options coming to Southeast **
Five health care providers serve patients in the Southeast Matthews-Vu clinic, and Vu said adding behavioral health care was a natural next step on their healthful mission.
While numbers related to Southeast are not readily available, plenty of studies have found correlations between mental health and socioeconomic status. One, published March 13 by the Public Library of Science, found that German children from low socioeconomic homes are often exposed to stressful life situations that impact their mental wellness.
“There’s a huge level of need … in the Southeast clinic,” Vu said. “That’s going to be a huge part of our growth down there.”