AusAID Australian Leadership Fellowships

Reflections from AusAID Australian Leadership Fellowships: 2010 | 2009 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007

AusAID ALA/Học Mãi Foundation Fellowship 2010

Funding has been approved and scholarships are currently being offered.


AusAID ALA/Học Mãi Foundation Fellows 2010

AusAID ALA/Học Mãi Foundation Fellowship 2009


AusAID ALA/Học Mãi Foundation Fellows 2009

One of the main goals of The Học Mãi - Australia Vietnam Medical Foundation is to train potential health leaders from Viêt Nam. As such, the Học Mãi Foundation has sponsored over 150 young Vietnamese health professionals for short term training in Australia since 2001. This initiative places young health care workers (mainly doctors, nurses, midwives and pharmacists) in three month training programs with appropriate health care professionals in Australia. Initially, the program commenced at Royal North Shore Hospital but rapidly expanded to include other major teaching hospitals including The Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Westmead Hospital, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, and recently the University of Tasmania Rural Clinical School, Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne and Tweed Heads Hospital.

In 2009, the Học Mãi Foundation was awarded funding through the AusAID Australian Leadership Award (ALA) Program. The funding enabled the Foundation to sponsor twenty five health professionals from Viêt Nam to participate in a three month Fellowship program in Australia. These ALA Fellowships are intended to expose Vietnamese doctors, nurses, midwives and allied health staff to aspects of the hospital system in Australia as well as learn new concepts and techniques. The Fellows were selected from an outstanding pool of candidates submitted by each of our partner organizations in Viêt Nam (Hanoi Medical University - incorporating Bach Mai and Viet Duc Teaching Hospitals; National Institute for Paediatrics, Hanoi; Tu Du Hospital, Cho Ray Hospital, Hung Vuong Hospital, University of Medicine and Pharmacy and Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine, Ho Chi Minh City; and DaNang Hospital and DaNang University, DaNang). Each candidate was chosen because of their leadership potential and all are expected to impart their newfound knowledge to colleagues and students back in Viêt Nam. Continued...

2009 AusAID Fellow Reports

Reflections from Le Dinh Cong, National Hospital for Pediatrics HaNoi


I am a radiologist, working at Radiology Department, National Hospital of Pediatrics Hanoi Vietnam.

I have been lucky to have opportunity to visit and study in Sydney Australia for 3months. I studied at Radiology Department at the Children’s Hospital Westmead who provided the best working/studying environment for me. This is a big Hospital for Children in Sydney with enough modern equipment including MRI, CT, Ultrasound, Angiography machines.

I was impressed by the professional way here; I have learnt general MRI and interventional radiology, exchanged information about diseases with help from Dr Ella, Dr David Lord and other Staff. We discussed together in an open way and I come to recognize there are a lot of differences between Viet Nam and Australia in the way of practicing medicine and communicating with patients.

Especially, I gained great experiences for intervention radiology from Dr David Lord, which is very important for me when I return my country; I will perform my project successfully.

The education program on each Friday was another interesting aspect of the course. We were trained in many health topics, including how the Australian medical system works basically, how to present effectively, role playing to learn communicating skills with patients, and especially, the evidence-based medicine( EBM), although It is very difficult for me, EBM course was certainly one of the most successful of the entire program.

I also enjoyed the education program on each Monday, there we were learnt English pronunciation, practiced English and developed skills listening, talking by some activities.

I would like to thank the Học Mãi Foundation and AusAID for giving me a great chance to study in Westmead Hospital and I would like to express my gratefulness to my supervisor Dr Ella, Dr David Lord, Prof Elizabeth Elliott, Mrs. Rhondda Glasson and other Staff.

Reflections from BA.RN. Tran Thanh Liem, DaNang Hospital


I have had the honour of being a fellow of Học Mãi - the Australia Viêt Nam Medical Foundation. I now have great hope for the realization of change in my own work environment after being in Tweed Hospital for 3 months as a clinical observer.

Out of what I have mentioned in my changing project, I am really impressed by what I have seen. Here the patients are warmly welcomed and engaged in close conversation with doctors and nurses. For each case of operation, the procedure is explained to the patients in a very clear and friendly way by the anesthetists, surgeons and nurses. They are willing to say “sorry” during their procedures when concern is seen on patients’ faces or pain is caused, and “thank you” to patients after doing the procedure. They encourage the patients all time.

Even more interestingly, mothers are permitted to come inside the operating room with their children when he or she is having an operation. Mother and child are able to stay together until the child is completely unconscious. This is not only to reassure the mothers but also to help the child to not be nervous of the medicines being used.

Another deep impression I have gained is that a husband is able to talk, caress or even kiss his wife and their newborn baby, while behind the protective curtain, the obstetricians and nurses are implementing surgical procedures. The picture of a small happy family with a new member in the operation room seems to make perioperative practitioners feel more pleased with their duty.

Even if the culture and working environment are different I hope to see more and more smiles, friendly eyes and happy families daily, in my working place, by adopting some of these practices.

I am thankful for the support of Học Mãi - the Australia Viêt Nam Medical Foundation and I was also lucky to have a very good supervisor, Dr Ian MacPhee. He supported me in many ways when I was in Tweed Hospital. The three months in Tweed Hospital has been an interesting chance to learn about the healthcare, and especially the nursing system, in Australia.

Tam Nguyen, MD - Nephrology subdivision, Dept of General Internal Medicine, University of Medicine and Pharmacy at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Prof Harris and Tam Nguyen

One day when you were overwhelmed with your routines, a friend came and said “Just go to see how I am doing my stuff”. You packed your things, then left. And that what Hoc Mai scholarship was all about.

Three – month observership gave me the precious opportunity to think peacefully about where I was, where I am, and where I am moving on.

My time at Renal Medicine, Westmead Hospital was quickly filled up with new knowledge and experiences. With the help of a friendly and proficient medical staff, my timidity was soon replaced by an engagement in so many clinical activities such as ward rounds, the clinic, clinical teaching, interdisciplinary meetings and research meetings. It was a great delight to behold how current advances in Nephrology are extensively applied in patient care. What I learned here was, however, more than informative. It provided me with “food for thought”. Indeed, the immediate question was how all this acquisition is tranferable to our patient care when we return home.

To answer this daunting question, we fortunately enjoyed further help from Hoc Mai who elegantly organised for us a rewarding course on every Friday. Like a ship loaded with a great deal of equipment and provision before a long and arduous journey at the sea, we were offered a comprehensive training involving many essential aspects of practicing, learning and teaching medicine by many devoted and talented professors and doctors. It surely takes time to tell how much we have obtained out of this influential course. Prof Morris left his imprint when we asked him whether we, as young doctors with “modest rank” at our workplaces, are able to make any change. He answered, “How will things be at your hospital in next 10 years? They change, of course. And the change is in your hand. Don’t your want to be prepared for that?”.
Before going to Australia, my goals of study were to observe the practice of modern Nephrology and the method of clinical teaching. Upon completion of the program, they were beautifully met.
Now that we have said good bye to our dear friends and we are back home, we know that our medical job will never be the same. We are sure that we are going to offer something new to our patients.

Ms Tran Cao Thuy Ha Lan - AusAID Fellow, DaNang University

Ms Tran Cao Thuy Ha Lan with Mentor at Tweed Heads Hospital

I have taken part as a Clinical Pharmacist Observer as part of the AusAID /Học Mãi Foundation Fellowships at the Pharmacy Department of Tweed Hospital. The main objectives of this study program was to observe and find out the most active teaching method for pharmaceutical students on clinical pharmacy subjects, and how to get clinical pharmacists’ approval by other members in the health care team.

Firstly, I have been deeply impressed that although The Tweed Hospital is the major acute care provider and referral facility with 220 beds and various specialties including 24 hour emergency service, only six clinical pharmacists are assigned to check the medication charts of each patient every day. They ensure that the prescriptions are always safe, effective and that each patient takes their medications properly as well. Whenever there was problem with a prescription, the pharmacist gently left a message under the medical chart or called to the doctor directly to see if they could meet each other to discuss the situation. This discussion quickly enabled consent of both parties for the best effective therapy for the patients. Moreover, the pharmacist usually organised information for the patient, their family and nursing staff about using the medication. This process was not simple at all, but the pharmacists completed these tasks with a smile on their face. I thought that it made patients feel a lot better. It has helped me appreciate the importance of effective communication skills for clinical pharmacists with the other health care staff and patients.


AusAID ALA/Học Mãi Foundation Fellowship 2008

2008 Fellows

The Học Mãi Foundation was awarded an Australian Leadership Award (ALA) grant from AusAID in order to support 30 doctors, nurses, pharmacists and technicians from various hospitals and universities in Viêt Nam to study in Australia.

AusAID ALA/Học Mãi Foundation Fellows 2008

AusAID ALA/Học Mãi Foundation Fellowship 2007

AusAID Fellows meeting in Canberra

In 2007, the Foundation was awarded a grant through the AusAID Australian Leadership Award Program which has had a significant impact on the development and expansion of the Vietnamese Health Professionals Fellowship Program. As a result, the Foundation were able to sponsor twenty four (24) health professionals from Vietnam to come to Australia for three months from June to October, 2007.

Due to the strong relationship of the Học Mãi Foundation with many health professionals and organisations, the Fellows enjoyed clinical placements in many parts of Sydney and Australia.

2007 AusAID/Học Mãi Fellows

AusAID Fellow Reports 2007

Comment from Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan - Physician/Lecturer Department of Emergency medicine/Hanoi Medical University

My name is Nguyen Anh Tuan, doctor working at Department of Emergency Medicine, Bach Mai National Hospital and I am concurrent lecturer of Hanoi Medical University. I received an Australian Fellowship with the Hoc Mai Foundation to stay in Sydney for 3 months in the year of 2007.

Dr Tuan

My desire was to learn in different health care system, particularly in a developed country as Australia. In three months, I have stayed almost in Emergency Department at Royal North Shore Hospital where I met a lot of patients with variety of diseases. I thought of each situation and compare with what we deal with those patients in our country. I also tried to think of what make the difference.

The most impression thing to me is the professional skill and the excellent collaboration of the medical staffs (team work). I also had the chance to attend some medical lectures which will be helpful for me in the future in the role of a medical teacher. Now I am back to my work as an emergency physician and utilize what I have seen in Australia to my practicing. I would like to express my great thank to AusAID and The Hoc Mai Foundation who brought me to Australia and provided me a chance to upgrade my knowledge and experience.

Reflections of Phung Thi Bich Thuy - Molecular Biology-Virologist,
National Hospital Paediatrics, Hanoi

Dr Thuy

In 2007, I attended Sydney with a AusAID/Hoc Mai scholarship. I spent time studying in The University of Sydney and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital under the supervision of Prof. Peter McMinn (Bosch Chair of Infectious Diseases).

I have improved my knowledge of infection diseases and learned how is set up and data-processing for experiments, using some methods for diagnosis of viruses such as: immuno-fluorescence (IF), virus cell culture, real time PCR and sequencing. I have observed in other hospitals such as: Westmead Children Hospital, Westmead Hospital and SUPAMAC.

After I returned from the Fellowship, I successfully applied for ‘Real time PCR method’ for the diagnosis of Adenovirus in my lab which I have worked with at RPA Hospital. At present, I am using this method for routine testing in my hospital.

I have submitted an application to undergo PhD in Sydney University. I hope that I will have PhD scholarship to come back to study in 2008.

At last, I would like to thank Prof. Bruce Robinson – The Hoc Mai Foundation Chair, who created opportunity for me to go to Sydney to learn useful knowledge for my job but also to improve my English language. I would like to thank Ms. Rhondda Glasson, Dr. Dilhani Bandaranayake and all my Australia friends who help me during time my stay in Sydney.