Medical education reform to come to Vietnam with help of Harvard medical school
Medical education leaders from Harvard Medical School (HMS) have been working with an international team of medical experts to develop a new curriculum for second-year medical students this fall.
The new curriculum isn’t just for students at Harvard, but also for students at Ho Chi Minh City University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh City University is one of five medical schools in the country participating in a partnership with HMS-whose goal it is to improve medical education and help advance health care in this resource-limited country.
Health Advancement Vietnam (HAIVN)
Partnership for Health Advancement in Vietnam (HAIVN) has been working to improve health care in Vietnam since 2003 and the curriculum reform is one of their latest programs. HAIVN is a collaboration between HMS, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Their main focus was on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment but over the years HAIVN’s work has expanded to include: the prevention of new and emerging global pandemics, general reforms in medical education, clinical training, transnational research collaborations and comprehensive health system strengthening.
HMS-affiliated faculty are collaborating with Vietnamese colleagues to find a solution to the many challenges experienced in the Vietnamese health care system. HAIVN has helped to form mentoring relationships between faculty members in Vietnam and the United States as well as train faculty in new teaching and assessment methods. They are also responsible for hosting exchange programs that send Vietnamese faculty to learn new methods in Boston and vice-versa.
In a statement to HMS, Lisa Cosimi, director of HAIVN and HMS assistant professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s said “This work is the latest product of the creative visioning, hard work and extreme dedication of faculty, staff, students and colleagues from both sides of the ocean who are committed to improving the health of the people of Vietnam.”
These new efforts have also led to the creation of the IMPACT MED Alliance, which is a public-private partnership supported by a $7 million grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The alliance also received $7 million in matching donations and in-kind support from international corporate partners. The alliance will focus on strengthening the efforts to control hospital-acquired infections and creating the capability to respond to emerging health threats.
With the help of their alliance and partners, HAIVN aims to develop higher standards for medical education in Vietnam. These efforts will guarantee that medical students have all the tools and knowledge needed to provide the best quality health care. Their new curriculum and teacher training initiatives will promote a much needed shift from traditional lecture-style learning to a more student-centered approach. The new student-centered approach will have more hands-on clinical training so that Vietnamese medical students will be ready to start practicing medicine as quickly as possible.
At a ceremony celebrating the beginning of a this new alliance, David Golan, HMS dean for basic science and graduate education, said “I am most excited to see the products of this engagement in the months and years to come, whether they be in the advancement of medical knowledge, new medical training curricula or professional collaborations that will serve as a bridge across the ocean that separates us.”