Medical Career Path Lies Ahead

We, conrespondents, recently had the chance to do an interview with Prof. Thach Nguyen. In the amicable talk, Professor shared his views on the Vietnam’s medical system as well as the path for medical sector in the globalization stage. Please see below our interview with Prof. Thach Nguyen.

1. It is widely known that Professor has had a big influence on the foundation of interventional cardiology in Vietnam and China since the 1990s. As the first instructor for physicians at the Beijing Medical University Hospital and at the Vietnam National Institute of Cardiology to apply modern American techniques at that time. After 20 years, what do you think of the current Vietnam healthcare system?

Prof. Thach Nguyen: In general, Vietnamese intervention cardiologists has made a leap from the early period. The interventional cardiologists are able to conduct advanced interventional cardiovascular operations with high expertise. In the coming time, the interventional cardiovascular community will begin to do advanced research on interventional cardiovascular procedures. These relentless efforts will make significant constribution in promoting the development of interventional cardiology in particular, and Vietnam medical system in general.


From left to right: Doctor Do Doan Loi, director of the Hanoi Institute of Cardiology, Doctor Stephen Oesterle, former Vice President of Medtronic, Inc., Minneapolis MN; Susan St Louis, wife of Doctor Khoi Le; Prof. Thach Nguyen; Doctor Pham Nhu Hung, director of cardiac catheterization of the Vietnam National Heart Institute, Prof. Eugene Braunwald and Hanoi took a photograph during the US delegation visit to Hanoi in 1997.

I recently visited a factory in Thu Duc manufacturing coronary balloon and angiography catheters. The angiography catheters are made of polymer with cobalt chromium alloy and covered with sirolimus. The stents are manufactured by the latest technology like those made in the US and Europe. Vietnamese cardiologists have currently not just adopted the latest knowledge from the US or Europe, they attempt to take the lead in delivering other cardiovascular devices in Vietnam and in neighboring countries.


On September 12, 2016, Prof. Thach Nguyen and his students from Tan Tao School of Medicine paid a visit to the United Healthcare factory in Vietnam, which manufactures high-quality eluting balloons and medicated stents. The visit emphasized the diversion of Vietnam cardiology. Instead of using imported medical devices, the Vietnam medical sector needs to self-supply and manufacture high quality equipments at a reasonable price for the nation and neighboring countries.

2. Why do you decide to devote your time to directly lead the School and instruct students at Tan Tao School of Medicine?

Prof. Thach Nguyen: In mid-October 2016, when there is a change in the leadership of Tan Tao School of Medicine. As the most senior leader of the School, I have been responsible to ensure that the instructions were not interrupted at the School of Medicine in order to maintain the training of first- and second- year students and clerkship curriculum of third- and fourth- year students at hospitals. I have  fulfilled this responsibility with the great support of professors, instructors and staff.

When I came to Tan Tao School of Medicine, I told the University Board that I would lead the School of Medicine in the US style of Openness and Transparency. I would like to welcome all professors, instructors, staff, parents and students to contribute to the development and orientation of the School of Medicine. Since I assumed this job, I held meetings with classes for each school year or student groups, so I had the chance to listen to all feedback from students and parents.


On December 09, the meeting with faculty members of School of Medicine of TTU was held at Tam Duc Hospital and presided over by Prof. Pham Nguyen Vinh, Prof. Le Quang Nghia and Prof. Thach Nguyen. All issues including the transfer of medical students to another school were frankly and openly discussed. In the work style of Prof. Thach Nguyen, all matters will be discussed in a transparent manner and based on consensus.

3. Dear Professor, and what is the difference and special feature in the teaching method of Tan Tao School of Medicine?

Prof. Thach Nguyen: Firstly, Tan Tao School of Medicine gives the priority for application of the most recent medical knowledge in the teaching of medicine in the United States. It is the relationship and coordination between knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pathology and medical cases or specific situations. In doing it, students are not introduced to theory, but also put theory into reality. I currently use the missions, targets, requirements and curriculum of medical clerkship at the New York Institute of Technology College of Medicine for third- and fourth- year students of Tan Tao University while practicing at Vietnamese hospitals. This teaching method is currently applied to 22 thousand medical students in the United States. Besides,  Tan Tao School of Medicine focuses on preparing students to pass the Medical Certificate similar to the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE), which physicians with an M.D. degree are required to pass before being permitted to practice medicine in the United States. The reason for providing preparation curriculum is that some students wish to practice medicine or pursue post-graduate training in the US. Another reason for pursuing USMLE is to improve knowledge and skills for medical students to practice medicine in Vietnam.


New York Institute of Technology College of Medicine, Old Westbury, New York, USA.

Secondly, Tan Tao University focuses on quality, not quantity. There are less than 100 students per class at TTU School of Medicine like the class size in U.S. universities. Therefore, students will have more opportunities to discuss with professors for instruction. At U.S. universities, the words ‘teachers’ and ‘students’  are not used, and they are called ‘instructors’ and ‘learners’ respectively. Apart from the instruction efforts of professors to provide students with sufficient  knowledge and skills, students are encouraged to actively participate in class discussions to contribute their opinions to learning topics. Students are required to participate in class discussions because the effective study method is to Absorb, Analyze, Categorize and Retain knowledge in the memory for a long term.


During the medical clerkship in the US, students from Tan Tao School of Medicine took anatomy courses at Indiana University.


During his visit to Tan Tao University on October 10, 2016, Dr. Kenneth Rosenfield, professor at Harvard University answered questions of medical students from TTU. According to the American educational method, instructors listen very attentively to questions, even from students.

The third is Ethics: Tan Tao University is dedicated to training highly skilled  physicians with medical ethics since medical students are future physicians who will serve the society with moral and ethics. Both in the US and Vietnam, medical universities and medical students are regarded with high respect. Therefore, they will be evaluated at a higher standard. For example, if an American medical student is arrested for driving drunk, he or she will be expelled from medical school. Several years ago, a medical Vietnamese American student was expelled from the University of UCLA for stealing a patient’s iPad. Stealing the IPad is a petty crime but as a medical student, she had to take a higher penalty.


The slogan of Tan Tao University School of Medicine: Hai Thuong Medical Ethics, American Medicine.