Advanced medical teaching for talented medical graduates

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2017 - Advanced Course in Medical Education and Research and Medical English Course


L to R: Dr Charlie McDonald, Dr Elaine Cheong, A/Prof Chris Pokorny, and Dr Darryl Mckender teaching Medical English at E Hospital

13-17 February 2017, Hanoi, Vietnam

34 Australians visited Hanoi Medical University this February for one week, volunteering their time and expertise to the Advanced Course in Medical Education and Research and the Medical English Program. This course runs twice a year, typically in February and September.

Medical English Program

Medical English classes ran Monday to Thursday at Hanoi Medical University (HMU) and at five hospitals across Hanoi: E Hospital, K Hospital, Bach Mai Hospital, St Paul Hospital, and Vietnam National Children’s Hospital. This was the time that the Medical English Program has been offered to St Paul Hospital.

In the afternoon hospital sessions, participants were split into two groups, beginners and advanced. Participants were doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals, and their specialties and experience varied.

Morning and afternoon English classes were held at HMU for its Advanced Nursing Program (ANP) students. Approximately 120 students participated, from First to Fourth year students. Each year group was broken into two classes and instructed by two to three Australian teachers. First and Second Year students received general English classes with a medical context, while the Third and Fourth Years students’ classes focused on nursing scenarios and medical terminology. We were fortunate to have group of highly qualified nurses teaching the ANP students, including four Clinical Nurse Educators and Consultants from St Vincent’s Hospital.

Advanced Course in Medical Education and Research

Prof Stephen Leeder, Mr Alan Kinkade, Dr Chris Bauer, A/Prof Chris Pokorny, Prof Nick Hunt, Dr Jonathan Page, Dr Steevie Chan, and Dr Charlie McDonald delivered the Advanced Course presentations from Monday to Thursday, 6:00PM – 8:00PM to a selected group of elite HMU graduates. Presentation topics ranged from How to Get an Article Published to Dying with Dignity. This was the fourth Advanced Course installment for the 2016-17 cohort. Funding to run the course is provided by a DFAT grant, individual Australian donors, and the Sunway Hotel, which donates a number of hotel rooms every year.

Hospital Visits

Between English and Advanced Course sessions, visits to hospital departments were arranged for some of the visiting Australian clinicians. Dr Andrew Duggins and A/Prof Emily Hibbert visited the Institute of Gerontology’s Stroke and Endocrinology departments. Dr Elaine Cheong visited and gave a presentation on Antimicrobial Stewardship within Hospitals at the Tropical Medicine and Infectious Diseases Hospital. Gastroenterologists A/Prof Chris Pokorny, Dr Darryl Mackender, Dr Charlie McDonald, and Prof Kerry Goulston were invited to tour Bach Mai and E Hospital Gastroenterology departments. Prof Stephen Leeder visited and presented at Bach Mai Hospital Respiratory Center. Oncologist Dr Jonathan Page visited K Hosptial, Hanoi’s cancer hospital, and presented on the Systematic Treatment of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. During his visit Dr Page was interviewed by a local TV network, VTC 10. HMU Hospital also generously hosted two visits to their Emergency Department with the Head of Department, Dr Hoàng Bùi Hải, a previous Hoc Mai scholar.

Public Health Workshop

On Friday, in collaboration with HMU Public Health, we put on a half-day workshop entitled Hospital Management and Leadership in Medicine. Presentations included: What Gets Measured Gets Done by Alan Kinkade; Leadership by The Hon Craig Knowles; Matching Clinical Quality to Financial Performance of a Hospital by Dr Steevie Chan; and Dementia and Other Cognitive Impairments by Dr Andrew Duggins. The workshop was a great success, attended by over 100 clinicians and administrators from Hanoi and across North Vietnam.


On Wednesday night, Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, Mr Craig Chittick, hosted our group plus 15 Vietnamese colleagues for a reception at his Residence. On Tuesday night we took the teachers and a group of Vietnamese friends to dinner, and on Thursday night Bach Mai Gastroenterology Department generously invited our group of 34 to dinner. These social events were valuable opportunities to connect with our Vietnamese colleagues in a relaxed environment.

Interviews at HMU for the next Advanced Course Cohort

A/Prof Chris Pokorny and Prof Kerry Goulston interviewed 76 young doctors and nurses who applied for scholarships for the Advanced Course in Medical Education and Research in 2017-2018. The selection process is currently underway.

Feedback and Participant Evaluation

We are in the process of collecting online student evaluation forms from both the Advanced Course and Medical English Program participants. The teaching group will meet early March to debrief and provide feedback and suggestions for future courses.

Next Visit

Another large group will travel to Hanoi 11–15 September 2017. In the meantime we will be planning the next Advanced Course sessions at HMU (11–12 March, 15–16 April) and an Immersion Program at Royal North Shore Hospital for three weeks in June–July.


L to R: Dr Charlie McDonald and Dr Elaine Cheong at E Hospital with Medical English students


L to R: Dr Jonathan Page and Prof Nick Hunt with some of the Advanced Course participants at HMU


L to R: A/Prof Emily Hibbert, Jane Klein, and Dr Gunjan Garg with Bach Mai Hospital Medical English students


L to R: Dr Geoff Klein, Dr Charlie McDonald, Jane Klein, Dr Steevie Chan, and A/Prof Emily Hibbert with some of the Advanced Course participants at HMU


L to R: Jane Klein and Dr Geoff Klein with HMU ANP students


L to R: Lucie Hallenstein and Dr Elaine Cheong at the end of the week with some of the Vietnam National Children’s Hospital English students


L to R: Dr Jonathan Page presenting at K Hosptial

01:03 minutes Download video (mp4, 7 Mb)

2016 - Advanced Course in Medical Education and Research 2016


Prof Kerry Goulston, Prof Kim Oates, Mr Geoff Grimish, and Mr Rick Cranna with the 2016 Immersion Program participants at the Kolling Building, Royal North Shore

The Hoc Mai Advanced Course in Medical Education and Research is designed to provide a select group of outstanding recent Hanoi Medical University (HMU) graduates with the tools to introduce and lead change in medical education and research, thereby contributing to the development of Vietnamese health care for the future.

Initially developed in consultation with senior academics at HMU in 2009, its success and growing reputation has enabled the course to continue annually since 2010. The 2016-17 program is currently underway.

The Course emphasises skills not widely taught to Vietnamese graduates, but which are essential for future leadership: change management, modern assessment methods of medical skills, teaching skills, statistics, evidence based medicine, research methods, leading and sustaining change, ethics and professionalism, preparing projects for publication, communication skills, and patient safety. Teaching is interactive using small group discussions and one-on-one interactions. The course is taught in English.

The program:

  • identifies the most talented recent graduates from HMU. On the basis of their academic record at HMU and the Residency examination, 50 are selected by the President of HMU Professor Hinh and are interviewed by us using a structured format to assess their comprehension of spoken English, ability to speak English, and their commitment. The 25 to be included in the course are selected on this basis;
  • equips them to teach at HMU in their clinical departments in English, publish in English language journals and communicate in English with international colleagues as teachers and researchers;
  • gives them an advanced educational experience that equips them for leadership, management and innovative change in medical education and research, and;
  • provides support for them when they return to their usual professional responsibilities so that they can apply what they have learned and lead change in medical education, research and health care.

Teaching in Hanoi
In 2016 clinical academics from Sydney Medical School (SMS), Sydney Nursing School (SNS), and other institutions travelled to Hanoi on seven occasions to teach the Vietnamese component of the course. Topics included Ethical Dilemmas, Leadership and Teamwork, Smoking Cessation in Vietnam, Child Abuse, Mental Health, Cancer Screening, Communication in Healthcare, and many more. Teaching sessions are run either over the weekend or in the evenings after the HMU doctors finish work. During the day the SMS academics visited HMU hospitals for ward rounds or to teach in their area of expertise.

The Immersion Component
A key component of the 2016 program was the Immersion course held in July. This program is a three week intensive course held at the Royal North Shore Hospital for 18 of the course participants selected for their leadership potential. The format of the intensive course comprised of two weeks of interactive teaching, followed by clinical placement in each Vietnamese doctor’s area of expertise.

Workshops in Hospital Management and Leadership
In collaboration with Prof Le Thi Huong of HMU Institute for Preventive Medicine and Public Health, we ran two half-day workshops in Hospital Management and Leadership. The workshops, held in February and September, drew an average audience of 130 hospital managers and heads of clinical departments from across North Vietnam. A third workshop is scheduled for 17 February 2017.

Evaluations conducted after each component of the course showed a significant increase in participant knowledge. Most considered the course to be either highly relevant or fairly relevant to their clinical work and teaching, and all thought their clinical work and teaching would change as a result of the course. Furthermore, feedback showed that the overwhelming majority considered the course very well worth the time they had devoted to it.

The 2016 course was supported by philanthropic donations and the remaining funds of the 2015 Australia Awards Fellowships (AAF) grant from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). The generous support from A/Prof Chris Pokorny, Mr John Gerahty, Ms Mary Ann Rolfe, Mr Geoff Grimish, Mr Tom Rubin, Dr Greg Horowitz, Mr Rick Cranna, Mrs Diana Robinson, Ms Nora Shreiber, and the Sunway Hotel Hanoi, made the 2016 course possible.


Prof Richard Allen with a selection of the 2016 Immersion Program participants at Hunters Hill Medical Practice, where SMS Senior Lecturer Dr Andrew Bowes spoke about General Practice, Jul 2016.


Typical Vietnamese hospitality during Dr Paul Nicolarakis and Dr Terry Nguyen’s visit to HMU in Nov 2016


Dr Terry Nguyen of Westmead Hospital presenting to the 2016-2017 Advanced Course group on Emergency Medicine at HMU, Nov 2016.


Prof Kim Oates, Prof Kerry Goulston, and Grace McLeod with the Immersion Program participants at Kolling Building, Royal North Shore Hospital, Jul 2016.

We wish to thank the following teachers who donated their time and skills to the Advanced Course in 2016:

A/Prof Chris Pokorny, Prof Nick Hunt, Prof Tony Broe, Mr Dimitry Tran, A/Prof Emily Hibbert, Dr Bob Middleton, Mr John Menadue, A/Prof Renee Bittoun, Dr Tom Gottlieb, Prof Craig Mellis, Dr Greg Briggs, Dr Shailendra Sawleshwarkar, A/Prof Chris Dennis, Prof Garett Smith, Dr Charlie McDonald, Dr Chris Bauer, Prof Richard Allen, Prof Chris Peck, Mr Richard Ryan, Dr Gregory Fox, Prof Michael Nicholas, Dr Bernard Hudson, Dr John Sammut, A/Prof Margaret Schnitzler, Prof Michael Nicholas, Ms Anne Starr, Prof Geoff Tofler, Ms Nathalie Mann, Dr Jonathan Page, Prof Donna Waters, Prof Dianne Campbell, A/Prof Tony Joseph, Dr Annette Burgess, Dr Sriram Mahadev, A/Prof Sheryl Van Nunen, Ms Sarah Whereat, Ms Jane McQueen, Prof Anthony Gill, Prof Merrilyn Walton, Dr Paul Nicolarakis, Dr Katie Ellard, Dr Clare Skinner, A/Prof Bruno Giuffre, Professor Patricia O’Brien, A/Prof Michael Campion, Prof Michael Pain, Prof Chris Tennant, Prof Jill White, Prof Mary Chiarella, Prof John Buchanan, Mr Evan Rawstron, Prof Robert Cumming, Prof Owen Dent, Dr Terry Nguyen, Mr Greg Brown, Ms Michelle Brown, and Dr Andrew Bowes.

We would also like to acknowledge and thank A/Prof Dang Van Duong and A/Prof Ha Phan Hai An of HMU for their invaluable support and collaboration throughout 2016.

2015 - Advanced Course in Medical Education and Research and Medical English Course


View the 2015 report

2014 - 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.

Advanced Course in Medical Education and Research

This Course is designed to provide a select group of outstanding recent HMU graduates with the ideas and tools needed to introduce and lead change in medicine and health care in the future in Vietnam. It is conducted in English.

Participants will be selected by Professor Hinh (President HMU) and Dr Duong on the basis of their academic and residency record and commitment. Fifty applicants will be interviewed by Sydney Medical School (SMS) academics in May 2014 and 25 will be selected on the basis of their comprehension of spoken English, their ability to speak English and their commitment to this program.

The course will consist of three components:

  1. Five one-week visits by SMS academics over a period of five months during which they will conduct evening interactive tutorials from 6:30pm to 8:00pm.
  2. On-line interactive sessions by SMS academics every two weeks.
  3. A group, chosen on their attendance and commitment, will spend three to five weeks in Sydney in mid 2015.

The course will include but will not be limited to such topics as: evidence-based medicine, managing change, leadership, communication skills, global health, teaching techniques, student assessment, reading and evaluating research, planning and conducting research, statistical methods, ethics in medicine, patient safety, etc. There will be no examination or any other form of assessment.

Medical English Course

This Course is open to all health care workers and is free. It is currently held in Ha Noi at Bach Mai and Thanh Nhan Hospitals and in the Faculty of Nursing at HMU. It involves one-hour sessions in groups of approximately 10 people, led by one or two Australian doctors or others with experience in medicine or health care. The course extends over four half days.

It is a course in conversational English intended for people who can read English fluently and can speak it reasonably well. It is not an introductory English course.

The aim of the course is to give participants the opportunity to hear conversational English spoken by native English speakers and to assist them in speaking English in a medical context. In particular it is intended to help participants with grammar, pronunciation, syntax, expression and medical vocabulary. The program is informal and highly interactive with most sessions involving role-playing of medical scenarios by the participants. There is no examination or any other form of assessment. Any benefit that participants gain from the course will depend greatly on their ability and willingness to contribute to the conversations.

The next course will be held in Ha Noi from September 8-11, 2014. Participants should contact , Pathology Department, Bach Mai Hospital or , Viet Duc Hospital.

2013 Report


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2012 Report


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2011 Report


View the 2011 report

Advanced medical teaching for talented medical graduates 2010–2011


This course teaches a small, selected group of highly talented recent Hanoi Medical University (HMU) medical graduates to provide them with an advanced course which will expand their medical horizons and increase their clinical skills. It was developed in consultation with senior academics at HMU and will be taught in English at their request. The young doctors who complete this course will be well-equipped to become academic leaders in Vietnam.

The course consists of:

  1. An advanced 12-month Medical curriculum taught at HMU.
  2. A two week immersion in enhanced clinical teaching held in Sydney.

The curriculum will cover 15 areas which are essential for future healthcare in Vietnam and which are not widely taught at present.

  1. Communication skills,
  2. Effective clinical handover,
  3. How to assess clinical skills,
  4. Presenting a history and physical examination,
  5. Patient management plans
  6. Improving performance through feedback,
  7. Ethics and professionalism,
  8. Developing learning outcomes for students,
  9. Evidence Based Medicine,
  10. Medical errors,
  11. Literature searching,
  12. Publishing: What editors look for,
  13. Medical statistics,
  14. Research methods,
  15. Presentation skills,

Fifty potential participants in the Course were chosen by Professor Hinh, the Rector of HMU, on the basis of their academic record and ability to speak English. In July, these 50 were interviewed by Kim Oates, Owen Dent and Kerry Goulston using a new structured interview format devised by Owen Dent. The 31 candidates selected come from a wide range of specialities and include one medical student and one nurse. All were considered to be among the future leaders in Vietnamese medicine.

Six times each year two academic clinicians will travel to HMU to teach an intensive one-week block in one or more of the subjects listed above. Two visits have been completed. Presentations were interactive and included role play with the course participants.

A pre-test/post-test is used for all teaching sessions. At the conclusion of the entire course a test will be given based on all of the previously administered tests.

For the first visit, pre-test total ranged from 3 to 7 with a mean of 5.3. Post-test scores ranged from 5 to 7, (Wilcoxon p <0.001), indicating an improvement in knowledge following teaching.

Feedback from the first two visits has been enthusiastic.

An additional component to the September visit was a course in Medical English which was made available to a wider group. The Medical English course teachers paid all of their own expenses.

Teachers & Students Medical English Course September 2010
Teachers: Tony Broe, Ron Barr, Robert Read, Jonathan Page, Owen Dent, Kerry Goulston and Kim Oates.

Professors Kerry Goulston & Kim Oates

2008 Report


Bach Mai Hospital

This Program again was held in the Emergency Department, BachMai Hospital, HaNoi. The team was welcomed on the first day by the Hospital Director and the Head of the Emergency Department.

Teachers included: Owen Dent (Medical Statistician), Kerry Goulston (Gastroenterologist), Richard Holloway (Gastroenterologist), Ian McPhee (Intensivist), Jonathan Page (Oncologist), Chris Tennent (Psychiatrist), Phillip Yuille (Radiation Oncologist).

There were 45 participants and so we used 4 separate Tutorial Rooms with whiteboards. The sessions ran from 1:30 to 5:00 p.m. for five days. The attendance was good and due to their work commitments, we arranged 30-35 participants at each session.
Each pair of teachers used different teaching styles – ranging from PowerPoint case scenarios to role playing. Only English was spoken and there was diversity in English Language skills. Some of the participants had attended last year’s program. Some were nurses and there were both senior (Department Heads) and junior (interns) doctors present.

Owen Dent gave separate talks on: ‘the tense of verbs in English’, ‘contractions of verbs’, ‘definite and indefinite articles in English’, ‘colloquialisms’ as well as distributing papers on ‘preparing a paper for submission to a medical journal’ and ‘statistical guidelines’. All of these were very well received. Owen also carried out an evaluation at the end of the Program.

The participants took us out to lunch, the Emergency Department for dinner, and there was a large gathering for the Học Mãi Alumni Dinner.

All in all, the week was deemed worthwhile by students and teachers!

Emeritius Professor Kerry Goulston
University of Sydney

2007 Report


Under the leadership of Professor Kerry Goulston, a group of Australian Health professonals and medical educators (with the support of the Học Mãi Foundation) have conducted classes at Bach Mai Hospital to assist Vietnamese Health Professionals to develop a better understanding of 'medical english'.

In October 2007, Kerry Goulston (Gastroenterologist), Richard Holloway(Gastroenterologist-Adelaide), Jonathan Page (Oncologist-Sydney ), Ron Mackinnon (GP-Sydney), Harley Harwood (Business Consultant-Sydney), Ian McPhee(ICU/Intensivist-Tweed Heads) and Owen Dent (Medical Statistician-Sussex Inlet ) arrived in HaNoi in order to present a education program of 'developing a better understanding of Medical English' to a selected group of Health Professionals at Bach Mai Hospital. On Monday 1 October, the team was welcomed by Dr Nanh (A/Director of Bach Mai Hospital) and Dr Nguyen Dat Anh.

The course would not have been possible without the usual support and help of Dr Dang Van Duong, The Director, Centre of Pathology, Bach Mai Hospital and Học Mãi Coordinator. Two Emergency Department Specialists (recently returned from Australia as Học Mãi AusAID Fellows) had organised the participants of the Course; the contribution of Dr Tu Huu Nguyen and Dr Nguyen Anh Tuan was invaluable.

The ‘Teaching Team’ spent each afternoon in the Emergency Department at Bach Mai Hospital facilitating knowledge of Medical English to the participants. The chief purpose of the course was to improve the spoken English with relation to patient care. Attendance during the Course was excellent, and the feedback was very good indeed.

In addition, Owen Dent gave an hour long tutorial on ‘How to interpret a Journal Article’ - this was very well received and attracted over 50 Bach Mai staff. His offer to coach in Statistics for individual papers or projects by Email was enthusiastically received.

One night, we had an emotional "Reunion Dinner" with those whom had previously been to RNSH and other Australian Hospitals; also Dr Anh, Head of ED, arranged a dinner on the last night and thanked the team for facilitating the teaching program.

The ‘Teaching Team’ also made various observational visits during the week to individual Hospital Departments.

Professor Kerry Goulston