Largest international exchange and aid program underway

3 August 2009

The University of Sydney's largest ever international health exchange and aid program has commenced at Royal North Shore Hospital.

An intensive program of medical education workshops for senior Vietnamese doctors and specialists is now underway. Over the next three months, 55 of the mostly highly regarded Vietnamese medical professionals will travel to Sydney to participate in clinical and medical education training programs at Royal North Shore or other major hospitals.

Those attending include some of Vietnam's leading cardiologists, nephrologists, obstetricians, surgeons and health bureaucrats.

During the course, Sydney Medical School's clinical teachers will share their knowledge and experience of medical education, including latest teaching techniques.

"This is the most extensive group of Vietnamese doctors and health professionals we have brought to Australia as part of an exchange program," said Professor Bruce Robinson, Dean of Sydney Medical School.

"The aim, by assisting these senior clinicians, teachers and managers to come here and work with our own specialist teachers and practitioners, is to develop their skills and directly contribute to the improvement of healthcare in their country."

"The benefits of such exchange programs and the connections they foster, though, are not one way. Our own staff and students gain enormously from participating in exchanges in Vietnam. Each year, the medical students who travel to Vietnam for elective placements benefit from the experience - they meet some extraordinary role models, their eyes are opened to different was of doing things," said Professor Robinson.

Among the Sydney specialists contributing are gastroenterologist Professor Kerry Goulston; Professor Kim Oates, former chief executive of the Children's Hospital at Westmead; obstetrician and neonatologist Professor Jonathon Morris; maternal and child health specialist Professor Heather Jeffrey; and Professor Bruce Robinson, Dean of Sydney Medical School. The visit and education program is funded directly by the University of Sydney's Hoc Mai Foundation.

The health specialists will travel to Australia to participate in the program in two groups. The first group of 25 specialists arrived in Australia in mid-July and were sponsored by the University of Sydney's Hoc Mai Foundation. The second group of 30 Vietnamese health specialists have just commenced the program and are being funded under AusAID's Australian Leadership Awards.

Each group will undertake clinical training rotations in major hospitals, with programs individually created to boost their clinical and leadership skills.

Both exchange and training courses have been organised by Hoc Mai, the University's Australia-Vietnam Medical Foundation.

Contact: Beth Quinlivan

Phone: 02 9036 6528

Email: 204240123e1805055905013605451c2663200f43575426