This morning, Dr Thach Nguyen, vice provost of TTU and academic dean of the School of Medicine (SOM) received an email from Hanoi from Dr Nguyen Quang Tuan, director of Bach Mai hospital. Dr Tuan sent a short letter and the clip on the fight against the COVID 19 virus at Bach Mai. The quarantine is over. IT IS GREAT NEWS FROM THE FRONT LINE.
From the beginning of the COVID 19 outbreak, in early January 2020, when the whole world was still enjoying the new Year, Dr Thach Nguyen received email from Nanjing where he has many collaborative research works and from Shanghai where he taught at the Tenth People’s hospital. The emails detailed the difficult problems in the fight against the virus and asked for protective equipment. At that time Dr Thach Nguyen sent letters to Vietnam, Hawaii, Korea to see whether his contacts (specially in Vietnam) could export these items to China.
In the middle of February, when the US was still over-confident because the COVID 19 outbreak was far away in Asia or Europe, Dr Thach Nguyen received emails from Dr Gianluca Rigatelli, a visiting Professor of Tan Tao U. His town of Legnano had not many problems as Bergamo, however life was not the same as before. As a young dad, Dr Rigatelli had to worry about his own safety for the safety of his young wife and teenager children. At this time, the letters from China, Korea and the US showed concerns about friends and colleagues in Italy.
Lately, in early April, Dr Thach Nguyen received emails from VN, Europe and Asia asking about the situation in the US, specifically Northwest Indiana. Dr Nguyen told everybody that there were about 3 or 4 COVID positive patients at St Mary medical center, and a few more at Methodist Hospital, Merrillville IN. However, on the public website of the state of Indiana, the numbers were much higher and became higher. Even so, everything was and is under control. The doctors in Indiana are bracing for Tuesday April 14 when Indiana is at its peak for patient load and death on the prediction curve.
Today is a big day, because Dr Thach Nguyen receives an email from Hanoi, from Dr Nguyen Quang Tuan, director of Bach Mai hospital. The good news is that Bach Mai is out of quarantine, after 14 days. This is the link sent from Dr NQ Tuan.
What did TTU do in the fight against the COVID 19 virus?
First, TTU students, staff and faculty adhere to the social distancing guidelines of the Ministry of Health. These personal precautionary measures prevent the spread of the virus.
Second, TTU began to transition all the lectures to the online format one week after the Tet vacation was extended. The first online lecture by Dr Talarico was on Monday February 17th (which was on Sunday night February 16th in Indiana)
Third, with the online format, TTU students did not miss any class of the semester. The lectures were given in a safe and comfortable condition for the faculty and the students. This year, when the schools are reopened and the hospitals allow students to do clerkship, TTU SOM students need only to do the clerkship and finish the school year.
What Are in the Horizon?
When confronting the challenges from inside the system and outside with friend and competitor institutions, TTU shows its strength by quick transition to new technologies, and by adaptation of new strategies or tactics in order to improve the delivery of teaching.
The new changes were reported by the media because they show that TTU is marching in the same step with other American universities. This is an important observation because it shows that TTU is well positioned to advance and to focus on the quality of curriculum and teaching. As TTU completed its transition to online teaching, all the lectures are being stored and uploaded on the website of TTU so students can retrieve these recordings for reviewing. This is one of the main hallmarks of the US education.
Another new aspect of the practice of medicine around the world is the use of telemedicine. This is a new technique, safer and very convenient for patients and doctors. TTU can do bedside teaching with this technique.
Besides the improvement in technologies, TTU is planning to invite the best US faculty to teach online to students of all the schools of TTU: School of Business, Medicine, Engineering, Nursing, Medical Technology, Biotechnology and Humanities and Languages. This is the best use of online teaching. In this coming week, in its online program, TTU SOM will offer every day, lectures of the US faculty. On Thursday April 16, for the lecture of Dr Sandeep Nathan, Associate Prof of Medicine at the U of Chicago School of Medicine, Dr Pham Manh Hung, Chairman of the Department of Cardiology of the Hanoi Medical University, Director of the National Heart Institute, Bach Mai Hospital will chair the session.
On the week of April 20, there will be two major lectures. On Tuesday April 21rst, Prof Ngo Bao Chau of the U of Chicago will talk. His session will be chaired by Prof Pham Gia Khai from Hanoi. On Friday April 24, Dr Michael Gibson, Prof of Medicine at Harvard Medical School will talk and his online session will be chaired by Prof Pham Nguyen Vinh, chairman of the Department of Medicine of the TTU SOM.
Two weeks ago, TTU signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Texas Women University, for the collaboration in organizing courses for the school of Nursing. The goal of TTU is to have double degree programs, in which TTU students can finish the last two years in the US and have double diploma from Vietnam and the US. By this way, the Vietnamese graduates will not have to take the US equivalent exam. They only need to take the licensing exam which is required for every US or international graduates.
At the good news from Hanoi, from the front line, as faculty and students of TTU, we congratulate our colleagues and friends at the front line. However, to compete with many universities in Vietnam, South East Asia or the US, TTU tries to be at front line too, the front line of education and sciences. Hopefully we will hear the good news from the front lines.