Report to Faculty, Students, and Parents of Students at the Middle of the Fall Semester


      Dear Faculty, Staff, Parents of students, and Students,

     As the acting Provost of Tan Tao University (TTU) and Dean of the School of Medicine (TTU-SOM), I would like to send all of you my warmest greetings. As we are in the middle of the Fall semester, I would like to report on the activities of the previous month and a plan for the next 9 months.

The Commencement Ceremony, the Formal Opening of the Academic Year 2017-2018, and the Awarding of the Hoa Trang Nguyen Scholarship

     On Sunday, October 8, 2017, Tan Tao University celebrated its 3rd Commencement Ceremony. All senior faculty were in attendance. The School of Business and Economics (SBE) was represented by Vice Provost Tran Duong, and Ms. Nguyen Thi Thu Trang. Mr. Huynh Ho, Vice Provost of Tan Tao University, and Provost of Tan Tao High School for the Gifted, also attended.

All the senior faculty of Tan Tao University attended the Commencement Ceremony

     From the School of Medicine, attendees included Professor Le Quang Nghia, Chair of the Department of Surgery, Professor Pham Nguyen Vinh, Chairman of the Department of Medicine, Professor Nguyen Thi Tu Van, Chairperson of the Department of Obstetrics, Professor Le Van Cuong, Chair of the Department of Anatomy, Professor Nguyen Hoang Vu, Chair of the Department of Anatomy of the University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Ho Chi Minh City, and Professor Le Xuan Truong, Chair of the Biochemistry Department. Professor Vu Huy Tru, Chairman of the Pediatrics Department was unable to attend due to a meeting in Singapore. Professor Cao Tien Dung from the School of Engineering, Professor Nguyen Dinh Truong from the School of Biotechnology, and Professor Dang Thanh Nhon of the School of Humanities and Languages were also present.

From left to right: Professors Nguyen Thi Tu Van, Le Xuan Truong, Nguyen Hoang Vu, Le Van Cuong, and Pham Nguyen Vinh.

    From the US, those in attendance included:  Dr Luis Guzman, Professor of Medicine, Director, Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond Virginia, Dr. Kwan Lee,  Associate Professor of Medicine, Director, Catheterization Lab, Banner University Medical Center South, Associate Chief of Cardiology for Clinical Operations, Banner University Medical Center South, Tucson Arizona, Dr. Quincy Tran,  Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore Maryland, Dr. Rupesh Shah, Internal Medicine Specialist, St. Mary Medical Center, Hobart, Indiana, and Dr. Khoi Le, Co-Director of the Interventional Cardiology Laboratories, Eisenhower Medical Center, Palm Springs, California. Other international attendees included: Dr. Michael Nguyen, Associate Professor, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia, Dr. Gianluca Rigatelli, Director, Section of Adult Congenital Heart Interventions, Rovigo General Hospital, Viale Tre Martiri, Rovigo, Italy, Prof. Derek J Hausenloy, Research Program in Cardiovascular & Metabolic Disorders Duke-National University of Singapore Medical School, Singapore, and Dr. Hector Alejandro Cabrera-Fuentes, Junior Group Leader Cardiovascular & Metabolic Diseases, Duke-National University of Singapore Medical School, Senior Research Fellow, National Heart Research Institute Singapore, National Heart Centre Singapore.

    On the same session, faculty of TTU participated in the awarding of the Hoa Trang Nguyen scholarships.

From left to right: Drs. Kwan Lee, Khoi Le, Gianluca Rigatelli, and Michael Nguyen
The commencement ceremony was a celebration of joy for TTU graduates. Here all graduates took a photo with all faculty
Here the graduates celebrated their achievements in a group photo among friends and relatives.
Here a graduate took a photo with Dean Nhon Dang and other faculty of the School of Humanities and Languages
TTU faculty attended the Hoa Trang Nguyen scholarship awarding ceremony

     Administrative Activities     On Sunday evening of October 8th, I met all clinical instructors of the SOM working at the hospitals where the TTU medical students are doing their clerkship. Binh Dan, Tam Duc, Nguyen Tri Phuong, Nhi Dong 2 and I reviewed the schedules of rotation, the attendance of students, the assignment of bedside teaching, and the feedback from faculty and students.

     On Monday afternoon at 2:30PM, at Tam Duc hospital, I met all 5th year medical students. The topics of discussion included the plan for training of the 6th year medical students (sub-intern) (2018-2019), the internship program in 2019-2020, and the plan for TTU graduates to sit for the USMLE exam. After our discussion, the students had the opportunity to discuss with Prof Nguyen Duc Cong, President of Thong Nhat hospital, about the sub-internship and internship program for TTU students. Prof Nguyen Duc Cong was at the hospital to discuss the plan to start a US style Internship and Residency program at Thong Nhat hospital. Prof Dang Van Phuoc Dean of the National University Medical School later joined in this conversation. Currently, Thong Nhat hospital needs to overcome all the legal hurdles while the medical team will continue its preparatory work for the establishment of the Internship and Residency program which is planned to start in the fall of 2018.

     On Tuesday October 10, at 9:00AM, Drs. Hector Cabrera and Derek Hausenloy from the National University of Singapore (NUS) met Drs. Khanh Doan and Thao Nguyen to discuss the research plan at TTU. They visited the research laboratories located at the Tan Tao hospital. The NUS team promised to work closely with TTU in order to improve their research program.

Drs Derek Hausenloy, Hector Cabrera, and Thach Nguyen discussed the research program with Drs Khanh Doan and Thao Nguyen

    At 11:00AM I met Vice Provost Huynh Ho to discuss the progress of the Quality Assurance program at TTU and other administrative questions. I really appreciated the help of VP Huynh Ho because he is very experienced in dealing with paperwork required by the current administration. After that, at 12:00PM, I met with new student Nguyen Khanh Toan to discuss how to accept the credits he earned from the medical school in Saigon.

    At 1:00PM, I met all the administrative staff of the SOM to discuss how to improve the work flow and how to be more effective and efficient. On this occasion, I thanked all the staff who worked very hard so that the SOM was running smoothly at the beginning of the school year (from the teaching schedule at TTU campus to the rotation schedule at the 4 major teaching hospitals). This year, TTU SOM has more than 200 medical students doing clerkships at the many teaching hospitals affiliated with TTU in Ho Chi Minh City. In general, the TTU SOM faculty team will continue to focus on clinical training of students with better bedside teaching.

    At 2:00PM, I met the staff of the registrar’s office discussing the plan of mid-term exams, mainly for medical students. At this present time, the registrar’s office is reviewing applications for transfer from medical schools in Ho Chi Minh City and New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, and applications from graduates with bachelor degree from various universities in Vietnam.

    In the evening, I met Professor Le Van Cuong and discussed various projects at the medical school.

    On Wednesday October 10, at 900AM, all the deans of TTU Schools of Biotechnology, Humanities and Languages, Engineering, Medicine (represented by Dr Khanh Doan), and Business had our monthly Academic meeting to evaluate the present situation and discuss future plans to improve the quality of teaching at TTU. At 10:00AM I met the Accounting department because I strongly believe that any business or academic institution needs to run on a balanced budget. At 10:30AM I met Mr. Tan Ha Thanh, Director of the Recruitment Office, and all the staff. We discussed the results of the 2017 recruitment drive and the plan of recruitment of new students for academic year 2018-2019.

    At 11:30AM I met Ms. Thu Trang of the SBE to discuss development strategy for the SBE and the plan to send SBE students to do summer clerkship in the US during the summer of 2018. In general, as many business schools in the US do, the TTU SBE will organize many special events and seminars with US faculty in order to educate TTU students and the local business community on how to be more successful in their investments, finances, and businesses. The first event will be in November.

    After that, I met Vice Provost Tran Duong to discuss the strategic plan for TTU.


     Clinical Rounds with US faculty     From Monday October 2nd to Friday October 6th, Dr Loan Pham, a hospitalist in southern California, made bedside clinical rounds at Thong Nhat hospital. Usually each group had less than 10 students. The students presented the case in English and were taught on clinical exam, the art of investigation, and the rationale of each test and treatment. On Monday October 9 and Tuesday October 10, at Tam Duc hospital, Drs. Gianluca Rigatelli (Rovigo Italy), Rupesh Shah (Merrillville IN), Kwan Lee (Tucson AZ), and Quincy Tran (Baltimore MD), did bedside clinical rounds where the students presented cases in English.

Dr Quincy Tran with the students. Altogether, Drs. Quincy Tran (Baltimore MD), Rupesh Shah (Merrillville IN), Kwan Lee (Tucson AZ) and (Gianluca Rigatelli, Rovigo IT) made rounds at Tam Duc Hospital while Dr Loan Pham did rounds at Thong Nhat Hospital. All the teaching was in English.

    The bedside teaching program focuses on the 6 goals of training in the US medical curriculum: (1) Patient care, (2) Medical knowledge, (3) Practice-Based Learning and Improvement, (4) Professionalism, (5) System-Based Practice, and (6) Interpersonal and Communication Skills.

     The Tam Duc Cardiovascular Symposium     On Monday October 9th and Tuesday October 10th, more than 30 medical students of TTU attended the Tam Duc cardiovascular scientific symposium.

TTU medical students attended the Tam Duc Cardiovascular Symposium
TTU medical students attended the Tam Duc Cardiovascular Symposium
On Wednesday afternoon, I met the high school students of the Tan Tao School of the Gifted. We discussed the goals of Tan Tao U and the strategic plan how to improve the quality of teaching at TTU and to train students to become leaders in their field with Liberal Arts education.

     The Spring of 2018     In the month of November, the SBE will have its first month academic activity outside TTU. On the second Sunday of December, (12/10) TTU plans to organize the first scientific competition for young undergraduate and high school students. The plan is to promote research activities among young undergraduate and high school students. Three competitions will be held in December 2017, March 2018, and May 2018.

     The plan for US faculty coming to TTU to teach will be Dr. Ernest Talarico in March for anatomy and Problem based learning and Dr. An Pham from the University of San Francisco to teach pharmacology. There are plans for 2 US faculty to come to TTU to teach short courses or to have a seminar in business.

     The plan for the summer medical clerkship in the US is going as usual. This year, the medical clerkship at St Mary Medical Center, Hobart IN will include TTU medical students, ethnic Vietnamese students from Debrecen, Hungary, and Kiev Medical School in the Ukraine, and from various medical schools in Vietnam.  The TTU medical students will participate in the International Cadaver Prosection course organized by the Indiana University School of Medicine.

     The plan for summer clerkship for the SBE is going as planned. The site of clerkship could be San Jose CA, Merrillville IN, and Houston TX. All the times the question of room and board needs to be addressed in addition to the question of training.

     The plan for presentations at various meetings outside Vietnam is going as planned. Nine TTU students just finished their trip to Beijing China and presented at the Great Wall International Conference in Cardiology (GWICC). This is the third largest cardiology meeting in the world (22,000 participants) following the European Society of Cardiology meeting (45,000 participants) and the American College of Cardiology meeting (35,000 participants). In December five TTU students will present at the Joint Coronary Revascularization meeting in Busan Korea.

     In conclusion, after finishing the 2016-2017 school year, on behalf of the leadership team of TTU, I would like to thank all the faculty who work in the hospital or teach in the classroom every day. On behalf of the students, their parents, and all the staff of TTU, I would like to say THANK YOU for your contribution, effort, and passion. This is what makes your teaching so invaluable. I would also like to thank all parents who send their children to TTU SOM. Please continue to encourage your children to try harder, to enjoy their studies, and to always be eager in facing the challenges.

     Finally, I would like to thank all the students whom I know are trying their best in response to the challenges and opportunities offered by school and society. Be brave, stay focused, be a leader, and respond to the challenges with passion. With these principles, you will conquer the world and the sky is not the limit.

     Enjoy all the best of what the fall season offers.  Christmas and New Year are not far away.

     Sincerely yours,


     Acting Provost of TTU
Dean of the TTU School of Medicine