News and Events

Hoc Mai Immersion Programme 22 June to 17 July 2015



Vietnamese doctors participating in the 4-week immersion programme with Sydney-based tutors.


14 July 2015

The Hoc Mai Foundation of Sydney Medical School is delighted to welcome 20 young medical specialists from Hanoi who have been identified as future health leaders in Vietnam. The group includes doctors from Public and Private Hospitals.

These doctors are carefully selected for their capacity for future leadership, high motivation, the ability to speak and comprehend English, and high levels of academic achievement. They are participating in a four week Hoc Mai Immersion Program conducted at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through the Australia Awards Fellowships. Australia Awards Fellowships offer Australian organisations the chance to build links with leaders and professionals in developing countries through short term study and professional development opportunities in Australia.

The structure of the program is designed to build capacity through teaching and discussion of new assessment methods, teaching skills, leadership, and change management. The course consists of two weeks of intensive tutorials on topics such as Mental Health, International Public Health, Disability, Pain Management, Medical Informatics, Epidemiology, Evidence based medicine, Clinical research, Ethics, HIV, Patient Safety, Health Workforce, and Smoking Cessation. These topics are not normally covered in Medical Education in Vietnam. They are chosen in consultation with academics from Hanoi Medical University (HMU) as key factors in enhancing future medical leadership in Vietnam.

The Course is part of an annual Advanced Course in Medical Education and Research which started 6 years ago. It resulted from a 16 year association between the University of Sydney and Hanoi Medical University. The two Australian course leaders (Professor Kerry Goulston and Professor Kim Oates) have extensive, long-standing experience working collaboratively with their Vietnam colleagues and have been appointed Honorary Professors at HMU. The program is carefully evaluated. It is resulting in ongoing professional relationships, and joint research projects.


175 Military Hospital Health Practitioners join Hoc Mai Clinical Placement Fellows


8 July 2015

Eight health practitioners from 175 Military Hospital arrived in Sydney on 27 June 2015 to embark on a two month learning experience through the 2015 Hoc Mai Foundation’s Clinical Placement Fellowship Programme. Ms Dung Nguyen, International Relations Coordinator and Mr Vu Duc Hau, Head of Finance of 175 Military Hospital accompanied the fellows on their first week in Sydney.

Hoc Mai’s Clinical Placement is a follow through programme of the foundation to support practical clinical learning of Vietnamese health practitioners by exposing them to Australian healthcare context. Vietnamese health practitioners are mentored by Sydney University Academics and hospital experts in their specific fields of specialisation.

Six of the fellows from 175 Military Hospital are currently attending Medical English courses through the Centre for English Teaching (CET) of the University to enhance their communication skills prior to embarking in clinical placement. Structured education and programme for change sessions have also been organised for the fellows.

Dr Hoang Tien Trong Nghia started his eight weeks of Neurology placement under the supervision of Dr Karl Ng (co-supervised by Dr Christina Liang) at ROYAL North Shore Hospital. Tran Song Hieu also started working with Dr Robin Hill (Director of Physics) and co-supervised by Dr May Whitaker (Deputy Director of Medical Physics) at Chris O’ Brien Lifehouse.

Three other Vietnamese fellows are expected to join the programme from 27th of July.

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Dr Nghia with Dr Christina Liang. L-R: Dr Hoang Tien Trong Nghia, Dr Christina Liang (Department of Neurology, Royal North Shore Hospital), Ms Dung Nguyen (International Relations Coordinator, 175 Military Hospital) and Mr Esmond Esguerra (International Relations Manager, Office for Global Health/Hoc Mai Australia-Vietnam Foundation)

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Tran Song Hieu with colleagues from Medical Physics Department of Chris O’ Brien Lifehouse. L-R: Mr Esmond Esguerra (International Relations Manager, Office for Global Health/Hoc Mai Australia-Vietnam Medical Foundation), Dr John Martyn (Operations Manager of Radiation Oncology, Chris O’ Brien Lifehouse), Tran Song Hieu, Dr May Whitaker (Deputy Director of Medical Physics, Chris O’ Brien Lifehouse) and Ms Dung Nguyen, International Relations Coordinator, 175 Military Hospital).

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Hoc Mai Fellows from 175 Military Hospital. L-R: Nguyen Thong Phan, Le Minh Tan, Nguyen Dang Huy, Pham Toan Trung, Tran Song Hieu, Phi Ngoc Duong and Nguyen Van Khan (not in photo: Dr Hoang Tien Trong Nghia)

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Prof Bruce Robinson, Dean of Sydney Medical School and Chair of Hoc Mai Foundation with colleagues from 175 Military Hospital. L-R: Tran Song Hieu, Professor Bruce Robinson, Ms Dung Nguyen


Practical Clinical Research in Hand Hygiene in Vietnam recognised by Asia Pacific Hand Hygiene Society of Infection Control

A hand hygiene campaign at Hung Vuong Hospital, Ho Chi Minh City has been recognized with the 2015 Asia Pacific Hand Hygiene Excellence Award.

Dr Phan Thi Hang, Head of Infection Control Department of Hung Vuong Hospital received the news from the expert panel from the Asia Pacific Society of Infection Control after an audit of the hospital. Hung Vuong Hospital is now considered a leader in the implementation strategy of hand hygiene campaigns in addressing the World Health Organisation’s First Global Patient Safety Challenge: Clean Care is Safer Care.

The Hoc Mai Foundation awarded a research grant to implement the protocol “Effectiveness of education, observation and feedback to hand hygiene compliance in healthcare workers” as a follow up to the “Hand hygiene programme to reduce hospital-acquired infection” research project. Professor Peter McMinn provided Hang a better understanding of hand hygiene in reducing hospital acquired infections, when Hang participated in a Hoc Mai fellowship in 2011. Subsequently, Dr Christopher Gordon from Sydney Nursing School mentored the research team in the development of a successful intervention study to improve hand hygiene compliance rates in the hospital during Hoc Mai’s Practical Clinical Research workshops in 2013 and 2014.

Dr Hang and her team were invited to the Asia Pacific Society of Infection Control Conference (APSIC) 2015 in Taipei, Taiwan in March 2015 to receive the award.

I would like to express my gratitude to all of my tutors and to Hoc Mai team, who helped me and our team a lot. I understand that we are just at the beginning; I need to study more and share our experiences to other hospitals in order to improve hospital acquired infection rates in Viet Nam hospitals.
Dr Phan Thi Hang



Hung Vuong Hospital Hand Hygiene Study Group during Hoc Mai Foundation’s Practical Clinical Research Workshop in Ho Chi Minh City in November 2014 with Dr Phan Thi Hang (3rd from right), Hoc Mai PCR Tutors Dr Christopher Gordon and Dr Christine Smyth.


Hand Hygiene Study Group of Hung Vuong Hospital with expert reviewers from Asia Pacific Society of Infection Control.

Hoc Mai Annual Alumni Events in Vietnam

Annual Hoc Mai alumni events were recently held in two major cities in Vietnam – Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The event provided Hoc Mai Foundation and University of Sydney staff to get updates on the professional lives of the alumni.

Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, Hugh Borrowman graciously welcomed Vietnamese alumni of the University of Sydney and Hoc Mai to the Ambassador’s residence in Hanoi on 31 October 2014. Mr Borrowman mentioned the importance of sustaining the relationship between Vietnamese and Australia towards improving the health and its long-term benefits to Viet Nam and its people.

On 3 November 2014, Australian Consul General (in Ho Chi Minh City) John McAnulty also hosted the Hoc Mai alumni event in the Consul General’s residence in HCMC. Despite the pour on the Monday, former Hoc Mai fellows and scholars turned up to meet and greet Hoc Mai Foundation and University of Sydney team.

Hoc Mai Chair Prof Bruce Robinson expressed his gratitude towards the continuous support of the Australian government through its mission in Vietnam in upholding the Hoc Mai’s philosophy of forever learning in medicine and healthcare in Vietnam.

Former Vietnamese exchange students (Medicine and Nursing) and Australia Awards Fellows were invited to join the events. A delegation from the University of Sydney and Hoc Mai Foundation who travelled to Vietnam for the annual Hoc Mai trip, including The Hon Dame Professor Marie Bashir, were also present in the events.



Australian Ambassador Hugh Borrowman with Hoc Mai Chair Professor Bruce Robinson welcomes the guests in the Hanoi event.


Consul General John McAnulty welcomed Hoc Mai alumni and guests at the HCMC event.


Hoc Mai alumni in Hanoi event with Dr Manuela Ferreira (2nd from right).


Hoc Mai Vietnamese alumni in the Hanoi function.


Hoc Mai Alumni in the Ho Chi Minh function with Prof Bruce Robinson (front).


Hoc Mai Alumni joined by Associate Professor Jennifer Fraser of Sydney Nursing School (left), Ms Audrey Blunden (centre) and Sarah Winter (2nd from right).

Practical Clinical Research Workshops in Vietnam

A team of Hoc Mai Foundation volunteers and academics from the University of Sydney conducted Practical Clinical Research Workshops in Hanoi on 30-31 October and in Ho Chi Minh City on 3-4 November 2014. The workshops formed part of the annual trip of the Hoc Mai Australia-Vietnam Medical Foundation to Vietnam to improve practical clinical research capacity across Vietnam.

This year’s workshops built on existing research projects of Vietnamese doctors and medical practitioners from Hanoi Medical University and Hung Vuong Hospital (HCMC). New groups of doctors from Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Da Nang Hospital Children and Women, Bach Mai Hospital, and University of Medicine and Pharmacy (HCMC) also joined the workshops. Hoc Mai Patron, The Honourable Dame Professor Marie Bashir also conducted workshops for groups of young psychiatrists from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh.

The workshops are aimed at building the capacity of Vietnamese medical professionals towards building research protocols and conducting ethical and meaningful research through mentorship from staff from the University. Four of the research projects in 2014 were awarded research grants of AU$2000 each to fund the conduct of their research. The funded research groups shared their research experience with the new groups and presented the developments in their projects, identifying barriers and challenges, which needed to be addressed.

Practical Clinical Research Team from the University included The Hon Dame Prof Marie Bashir, Prof Jonathan Morris, Assoc Prof Kirsty Foster, Assoc Prof Christine Roberts, Assoc Prof Catherine Hawke, Dr Christopher Gordon, Dr Diana Benn, Dr Christine Smyth, Dr Manuela Ferreira and Ms Sarah Winter.



Participants of the 2014 Practical Clinical Research Workshop in Hanoi with tutors and mentors from the University of Sydney and Hoc Mai Foundation.


Research group from Bach Mai Hospital, Hanoi presenting their research topic.


Research group from Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy with Assoc Prof Kirsty Foster and Prof Jonathan Morris.


Research team from Da Nang Hospital for Women and Children with Ms Sarah Winters (3rd from right) and Assoc Prof Christine Roberts (back centre).


Professor Marie Bashir and a group of young psychiatrists in HCMC.


Participants of the 2014 Practical Clinical Research Workshop in HCMC with tutors and mentors from the University of Sydney and Hoc Mai Foundation.


Hand hygiene research group from Hung Vuong Hospital, HCMC with Dr Christopher Gordon (2nd from left) and Dr Christine Smyth (right).



Royal Welcome

Hoc Mai Foundation staff and students from Sydney Medical School attended the Welcome Reception for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Sydney Opera House on Wednesday 16th April, 2014.

The 3 students had all previously completed scholarship placements at hospitals and universities in Viet Nam and were provided the opportunity to exchange ideas concerning public health and development issues with the Royal couple and the strong contingent of representatives from not-for-profit and charitable organisations present.

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Opera House steps

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From right to left: Mr Jason Dibbs (Hoc Mai Foundation/Office for Global Health staff), Ms Kristy Noble (Hoc Mai Scholar 2013), Dr Aimee Wiseman (Hoc Mai Scholar 2011) and Dr Aneuryn Rozea (Hoc Mai Scholar 2011)

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The Duke of Cambridge draws a laugh from Dr Aimee Wiseman, Hoc Mai Foundation Scholar


Advanced Course in Medical Education and Research and Medical English Course, Ha Noi



Hanoi Advanced Course in Medical Education and Research April 2014

In association with Ha Noi Medical University (HMU), Hoc Mai offers the following courses in Ha Noi: the Advanced Course in Medical Education and Research and the Medical English Course. These are separate courses, conducted independently of each other.

More information




Improving health outcomes for the people of Dien Bien Province

The remote mountainous Dien Bien Province (DBP) is home to 21 ethnic minority groups characterised by poverty, low literacy and poor access to health services. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Hoc Mai Foundation’s engagement in improving health outcomes for the people of DBP.

In the last two years, seven workshops were conducted in Dien Bien Phu around the themes of optimal care of women in pregnancy, essential care during childbirth and newborn care, and of children from birth to five years, including specific topics on acute diarrhoea and pneumonia in children. Two traditional six-day health professional workshops were conducted on healthy mothers, healthy babies, while one workshop on health literacy was held. These were complemented by a three day workshop on essential newborn care, and the most common children’s diseases acute diarrhoea and pneumonia.

The teams who conducted the workshops were composed of highly experienced clinicians and medical educators including primary care physicians, paediatricians, obstetricians and gynaecologists, nurses, midwives, neonatologists and support from Hoc Mai Foundation alumni who served as interpreters and Hoc Mai’s professional staff. It is important to highlight the contribution of Vietnamese community members such as the Vietnamese Women’s Union who actively participated in the aim of disseminating healthy practices among women in the community.

The Australian government under its Public Sector Linkages Program funded the implementation of The Educational Initiative to Improve Maternal, Neonatal and Childhood Health Outcomes in Dien Bien Province, Vietnam.

Plans are underway to extend the program into more remote parts of the province, and for additional training in diagnosis and management of common disorders of child health.

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2014 Competitive Research Grants program

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The Hoc Mai Foundation is very pleased to launch the 2014 Competitive Research Grants program, with up to 3 grants of $2,000 available for the implementation of studies developed during the 2012/13 Practical Clinical Research Workshops in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Vietnam.

THIS PROGRAM IS NOW CLOSED


Together for Health

Together for Health: An Overview of Australia’s Involvement within Vietnam’s Healthcare Sector

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This report was compiled by Hoc Mai Foundation Researcher, Ms Aimee Wiseman.

The idea for this evaluation of Australia’s involvement in Vietnam arose following discussions with His Excellency, Hugh Borrowman, Australia’s Ambassador to Vietnam. The purpose of the evaluation, is to provide an overview of the scope and breadth of Australia’s involvement and interventions within Vietnam’s health-care sector, and to cohesively represent the extent of this partnership.

View the Report


Marie Bashir officially opens Woolcock Institute/Hoc Mai Foundation office in Hanoi

11 November 2013



















Dr Nguyen Van Dinh and co-workers receive "Best Paper Award"

Dr Nguyen Van Dinh and co-workers received the "Best Paper Award" at APCAACI (Asia Pacific Congress of Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology), Taipei, Taiwan, November 13-17 2013, funded by a Hoc Mai Research Grant.

The Association between the Presence of HLA B*1502 in Vietnamese Patients and Carbamazepine-induced Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS), Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN) and Drug-induced Hypersensitivity Syndrome with Systemic Symptoms (DRESS).
Dinh NV, Hieu CH, Doan NV, Hong MP, Craig T, Baumgart K, van Nunen S.
Allergy 2013; Vol 68, Suppl 98:70-78.




L to R: Professor Ruby Pawankar, President, WAO (World Allergy Organisation); Dr Chu Chi Hieu (Center of Allergology and Clinical Immunology, Bach mai Hospital, Hanoi, Vietnam); Dr Nguyen Van Dinh (Hoc Mai Fellow 2010, Center of Allergology and Clinical Immunology, Bach mai Hospital and Department of Allergy, Hanoi Medical University, Hanoi, Vietnam) and Clinical A/Professor Sheryl van Nunen (Department of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, Royal North Shore Hospital and Sydney Medical School-Northern).




L to R: Professor Constance Katelaris (President, APAACI Asia Pacific Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology Society); Dr Nguyen Van Dinh (Hoc Mai Fellow, Center of Allergology and Clinical Immunology, Bach mai Hospital and Department of Allergy, Hanoi Medical University, Hanoi, Vietnam); Dr Chu Chi Hieu (Center of Allergology and Clinical Immunology, Bach mai Hospital, Hanoi); Professor Jiu-Yao Wang, Organiser, APCAACI (Asia Pacific Congress of Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology 2013); Clinical A/Professor Sheryl van Nunen (Department of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, Royal North Shore Hospital and Sydney Medical School-Northern).

Hoc Mai's Vu Huynh recognised for his contribution to cancer treatment

Hoc Mai Foundation Radiation Therapy Technologist Vu Huynh was interviewed by ABC Radio Australia on International Volunteer Day in recognition of his contribution to cancer treatment in Ho Chi Minh City.

Listen to the podcast and read the interview here.





















'Forever Learning, Sometimes Running...' 2013 City2Surf Student Fundraiser

Complete the 2013 City to Surf, held on Sunday August 11, and show your support for the work of the Học Mãi Australia Viêt Nam Medical Foundation!

Follow 3 easy steps:

  1. Register to run via www.city2surf.com.au
  2. Ask your friends and family to donate via the secure on-line form, and select Học Mãi City 2 Surf participants from the 'Purpose' drop-down menu in the Donation Information section (donors can choose to note the name of the participant they are supporting by using the 'Referred by' field for free text), OR download the gift form (PDF)
  3. Collect your free T shirt while stock lasts from the Học Mãi office, Room 208D, A27 - Edward Ford Building, The University of Sydney
2012 City2Surf Student Fundraiser

Last year's City2Surf Học Mãi fundraiser was a wonderful success with many staff members from Sydney Medical School, past and present Học Mãi Student Scholarship recipients and the 2012 Australian Leadership Awards Học Mãi Fellows in attendance.



How your support helps

As a developing country in transition, Vietnam is facing many unique healthcare challenges, and your support can help make a difference. Every $3,500 raised enables a Vietnamese Nursing or Medical student to complete a month-long placement at The University of Sydney, gaining invaluable skills and knowledge from our leading academics and practitioners. These placements create pathways for future collaborative research and opportunities for the next generation of potential leaders in the delivery of healthcare in Vietnam.

The Hoc Mai Foundation provided me with the incredible opportunity to study in Hue, Vietnam. I was exposed to many important aspects of medicine which are rarely seen in Australia and I was able to solidify my learning from back home. Through the support of Hoc Mai, my future career path has been further shaped by my newfound appreciation for the challenges encountered in delivering healthcare in low socioeconomic areas and developing countries. By supporting the Student Scholarship fundraiser, I will help create new learning opportunities and cross-cultural perspectives on healthcare delivery for Vietnamese students.
– 4th Year Sydney Medical School Student

Past recipients share their stories about the positive impact of our scholarship program. For more stories, please visit sydney.edu.au/medicine/hocmai/scholarships/toaustralia


Barefoot Bowls in Orange

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Nicole Bartos and Laura Marshman are 4th year Sydney University medical students who travelled to Vietnam in December 2012 and spent a month at Bac Mai hospital in Hanoi, under the Hoc Mai Foundation Scholarship program.

They recently organised a barefoot bowls fundraising event in Orange, where they are spending the final year of their degree. Medical students from both Orange and Dubbo School of Rural Health campuses attended the event, as well as junior doctors and some local Orange residents. As well as the lawn bowls competition in the sun, there was a BBQ with meats donated from local butcheries, a cake stall and a raffle with great prizes from generous local businesses.

'We are very grateful to the Hoc Mai Foundation for supporting our Elective in Vietnam - it was a unique, interesting and rewarding experience that will shape our future careers. We wanted to raise funds to contribute to the exchange programs Hoc Mai facilitates each year, and to raise some awareness about the Foundation itself amongst our colleagues and friends.'

Our thanks to:

Bills Beans: 148 McLachlan Street, Orange NSW 2800
Odeon Cinema: 43 William Street, Orange, 2800
Harris Farm: 150 Summer St, Orange NSW 2800
Woolworths: 197/203 Anson St, Orange NSW 2800
Ashcroft's Supa IGA: 210 Peisley St, Orange NSW 2800
Pete's Carwash: Cnr Byng & Peisley Sts 240 Peisley St, Orange NSW 2800
Union Bank Wine Bar: Cnr Byng and Sale Streets, Orange NSW 2800
Byng Street Local Store: 47 Byng St Orange NSW 2800
M&J Butchery: 30 Moulder Street, Orange 2800
Farmgate butchery: 2 Prince St Orange NSW 2800


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Viêt Nam and Australia join forces to fight ancient killer

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We still don’t know why only one in ten of the two billion people carrying the Mycobacteria tuberculosis bacterium become sick with TB. But the disease kills more than a million people worldwide every year – or about three every minute.

"Viêt Nam has some of the highest rates of TB in Asia. Australia can play a role in combating TB there as we have already done in our own country," Centenary Institute researcher Dr Greg Fox says.

Greg, who usually lives and works in Viêt Nam, has played an integral role in numerous TB related projects including his genetic study of TB patients and their families.

"Because of the high number of cases of TB in Viêt Nam, we can compare genetic differences between those affected by TB and those who aren’t," Greg says, "This may one day allow us to identify the one in ten of us at greatest risk of being affected by TB."

Greg Fox, an Australian medical doctor and PhD student, never thought his TB research would lead him to strap research papers to his back and ride around the Viêt Namese countryside to visit research sites and train local doctors.

The full article from which this passage has been excerpted may be found at: www.scienceinpublic.com.au/centenary.