Report to Faculty, Students and Parents of Students at the Beginning of the 2017 Spring Semester

Dear Faculty, staff, parents of students, and students:

As the most senior faculty member of the Tan Tao University medical school, I would like to send all of you my warmest greetings and my best wishes for the Lunar New year, the year of the Rooster. As we begin the Spring semester, I would like to report on the activities of the first few days and plans for the next six months.

On Saturday, February  4th, 2017, at 9:00 AM there was a faculty meeting at Tam Duc Hospital chaired by Professor Pham Nguyen Vinh and  myself. Professor Le Van Cuong, vice chair of the Department of Surgery represented Professor Le Quang Nghia who was out of town. Others attending included Professors Le Van Truong (Biochemistry), Nguyen Thi Tu Van (OB-GYN), Nguyen Quang Vinh (OB-GYN), Vu Huy Tru (Pediatrics), Dr.’s Tran Van Hung, Pham Thi Van Huyen, Doan Van Huyen, Nguyen Truong Nam, Nguyen Thi Ngoc Loi, Dang Bich Thao, Trinh Ai Nhi, Doan Van Khanh, and Nguyen Ngoc Phuong Thao.

At this meeting, the faculty reviewed the activities of the school in the fall semester of 2016, mainly the teaching of basic sciences for the 1st and 2nd-year medical students, and hospital teaching for the 3rd and 4th medical students. The problems discussed included the schedules of rotation, the quality of teaching, the on time daily teaching of clinical instructors (at the bedside), the opportunities for students to present cases to clinical instructors, quality and availability of the auditorium, the on-call room for students at Nguyen Tri Phuong Hospital, the possibility for students to observe cases in the operating room at Binh Dan Hospital, and the daily teaching schedule at Thong Nhat Hospital.  We also discussed the application of the clerkship teaching and learning guidelines to medical students. These detailed guidelines are being used for the medical, surgical, pediatrics and obstetrics clerkship of students at the New York Institute of Technology, New York. The faculty also agreed on the plan to add more clinical instructors at each department (surgery, medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics) in order to guarantee a best bedside teaching plan for TTU students (a student: clinical instructor ratio of <10).

The faculty team also agreed with the plan to invite US faculty to teach short courses in basic sciences. In the school year 2016-2017, the budget for 5 US faculty to do short term teaching at TTU was approved. In March 2017, Dr. Ernest Talarico from Indiana University, will come and teach a short course of anatomy for the 1st year medical students and Problem-based learning for the 3rd year medical students. Each year, in the summer, at Indiana University School of Medicine, Dr. Talarico offers a course on Cadaver Prosection, which attracts participants from many medical schools in the US and Europe.

I also reported to the faculty team about the 2017 budget for the school of medicine in which I requested monies for research, travel expenses for young faculty to present their research works on behalf of TTU in Vietnam and abroad and funds to pay for continuing medical education (CME) of junior faculty. I was happy to inform that these requests were approved.  I also reported to the faculty team the plan for research and presentations by TTU students in the next six months (which will be reported below

On Saturday February 4, 2017, in the afternoon, I met Dr. Doan Van Khanh and Nguyen Ngoc Phuong Thao to discuss the teaching methodology for microbiology and pharmacology. We also discussed at length the plan for research at TTU, Long An campus. We agreed on the plan to incorporate more clinical insights into their teaching of basic sciences.

I also met Professor Le Van Cuong to thank him for his dedication to the teaching of anatomy for many generations of Vietnamese physicians. I also expressed my gratitude on behalf of TTU medical school and students for his excellent teaching of TTU medical students. I also showed my appreciation for his frequent advice on surgical teaching at Binh Dan Hospital.

I also met Dr. Tran Thi Hong to discuss the methodology in her teaching of parasitology. I expressed my appreciation for her excellent teaching and dedication.

On Sunday, February 5, 2017, I met the majority of the fourth year and 3 rd year medical students (some were not yet back to the city from the Tet holidays in their hometown) .  The agenda is the status of clerkship in all specialties (medicine, surgery, pediatrics and obstetrics). I asked the students about the quality of the clerkship: the schedules of rotation, the quality of teaching, the on time daily teaching of clinical instructors (at the bedside) and the opportunities for students to present cases to clinical instructors. The quality and availability of the auditorium, the on-call room for students at Nguyen Tri Phuong Hospital, the possibility for the students to observe cases in the operating room at Binh Dan Hospital, the daily teaching schedule at Thong Nhat Hospital, were also discussed. The students were concerned about the availability of the toilet at Nguyen Tri Phuong Hospital. I also discussed the application of the clerkship teaching and learning guidelines from the New York Institute of Technology, New York. I informed the students that I asked the clinical faculty to implement gradually these detailed guidelines in the TTU hospital clerkship.

I informed the 3rd year medical students about the plan for the problem-based learning session at the end of March 2017. I also informed the 3rd year medical students about the plan of ambulatory medicine teaching with the US Medical mission team who will come to TTU in late June and early July. For two weeks, the 3rd medical students will follow the US doctors in the examination of patients and work as translators. Last year, the US team (with more than ten doctors) examined 100 patients per day. This year, they plan to examine 60 patients a day, so the US physicians can have time to discuss the case with TTU students and teach bedside examination and management

On Monday, February 6th, in the morning, at TTU Long An campus, I met Mr. Tran Duong, Vice Provost of TTU and Mr. Huynh Ho. After that, I attended the monthly academic meeting with the presence of all representatives from the schools of Biotechnology, Language and Humanities, Engineering, and the Office of the Registrar. We discussed the current status of each school, the action plan for the next six months and drive for recruitment for the next school year. I appreciated the opportunity to meet the faculty of other schools of TTU and to witness their daily efforts in improving the quality of teaching and overcome the difficulties in the management of the schools.

In the afternoon, I met the students of the school of business (SBE), on behalf of the TTU leadership team, to understand the current situation from the students’ perspective. I also listened to the concerns of the students and their suggestions. I also explained the plan of the TTU leadership in suggesting internship to SBE students from the first year. In the US, summer clerkship is a routine and important part of practical teaching at any business or law school. The students would select a company at which the students hope to have a job after graduation. In this early stage, the students would work for a modest stipend which helps the students to have some pocket money too. As the students work, they could understand the reality of the jobs or positions the students plan to have in the future. As TTU SBE plans to have these clerkships at the early stage, so the chances for students to have a job offered or guaranteed before graduation is very high. The students also showed interest in doing clerkship in companies in countries in Asia or the US. I informed the students the plan of the TTU leadership and SBE to implement a program of clerkship outside Vietnam and a plan to help students to start their businesses or company at the time of graduation. I explained to the students that I suggested these plans to the TTU leadership and SBE because these programs are done routinely in any business schools in the US.

In the afternoon, I had the chance to meet Mr. Jonathan Lankford, the registrar. I appreciate his work for the TTU school of medicine. I also met Ms. Le Thi Tram Anh to understand the scope of her work and I thanked her on behalf of the TTU school of medicine for her work and dedication. I also met Ms. Tu Tran from the accounting office. I appreciated her work for the faculty and students of the school of medicine, and I am happy that we have a balanced budget for the school of medicine.

I also met Mr. Ho Tien Sinh and Ms. Nguyen Thi Kim Tien and thanked them for their work and dedication to TTU school of medicine.

To all FACULTY: Professors, Basic Sciences Instructors, Clinical faculty, I would like to thank you personally on behalf of the TTU medical school and students. The school and the students appreciate and treasure your dedication, efforts, and work. My job is to support your work and the job of the school to provide an ideal environment so you can fulfill your duties.

To all staff, I would like to thank you personally for all that has been done for the TTU medical school and students. The success of the school and students are our reward and make us proud. Please do your best for the school and students.

To all parents of students, I would like to take this occasion to thank you, for your decision of sending your children to TTU medical school. The TTU administration, faculty, and staff are all working very hard together for the future of your children, our students.  We promised and are doing our best for the future of our students, your children. We thank you for your support, encouragement, and trust. Without your support, we cannot fulfill our mission of providing the best opportunities for our students to be the best doctors in the world. We need and appreciate all of your support.

To all students of the TTU medical school, you are at the center of our attention, work, and dedication. Your success is our success. Your failure is our failure. I appreciate the opportunity to meet you and get your frank feedback. In general, many students are fairly satisfied with the current situation. However, we cannot accept the status quo. We need daily improvement and effort. I would like to outline our activities in the next six months as I invite the students to sign up for these activities.

I am sure I cannot succeed without the strong effort and support from faculty, staff, and students. Please work together because this is the key to success.

With my warmest personal regards,

Thach Nguyen MD FACC FSCAI