pattinee.jpgPattinee Suanprasert grew up in a Bangkok suburb and completed her Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology from Mahidol University and a Master of Public Health from Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.

She began her career as a laboratory technician at a private hospital near her home, followed by a post at a government hospital in the province. With a personal interest in learning English and getting to know people of different cultures and languages, she applied to work with the International Committee of the Red Cross in a refugee camp on the Thai-Cambodian border. Before the camps were closed down, she was awarded a scholarship from Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Tropical Medicine (SEAMEO-TROPMED) to attend a diploma course in Clinical Microbiology in Malaysia.

Upon graduation, she returned to Thailand and Pattinee was inspired by the story of Dr. Cynthia Maung and her humanitarian work on the Thai-Burma border from an article in a Thai magazine. She applied and was offered the opportunity to work with these refugees through Malteser Humanitarian Aid, a German Non Government Organization (NGO), and later with International Rescue Committee (IRC), a USA-based NGO.

Pattinee wanted to study for a master’s in Public Health and volunteered in a health program for Burmese migrants with a Thai foundation in Mahachai, a city near Bangkok. Later, she worked as volunteer in an advocacy project on HIV under Oxfam-GB, a U.K. NGO. During that time, Mae Tao Clinic (MTC) was looking for a Thai manager to coordinate with local public health offices, Pattinee was accepted as part of the Mae Tao Clinic community shortly after.

After a year and a half with MTC, Pattinee left for New Zealand to join her husband who was a refugee from Burma and resettled there. In New Zealand, she continued helping refugees from Burma. After living in NZ for two years, Pattinee returned to Thailand and worked with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Her goal was to improve access to health and social services for migrants from Burma in Thailand in collaborating with Thai Ministry of Public Health.

Pattinee never forgot about her time with the Mae Tao Clinic and got the opportunity to return in 2007. Her appointed position as Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator is to help harmonize responsibilities at the MTC to maintain and improve the quality of services and tap into liaisons with public health offices. Pattinee has played key role in operating the foundation and ensuring that the foundation is running well.