Report to President, Board of Directors, Vice Provosts, Deans, Faculty, Staff, Students, and Parents of Students at the beginning of 2019


Report to President, Board of Directors, Vice Provosts, Deans, Faculty, Staff, Students, and Parents of Students at the beginning of 2019

Dear President, Members of the Board of Directors, Vice Provosts, Deans, Vice-Deans, Faculty, Staff, Parents of students, and Students

As acting Provost of Tan Tao University (TTU) and Dean of the School of Medicine (TTU-SOM), I would like to send you and your family my warmest greetings and best wishes for the Lunar New Year, the year of the Pig. As we are at the beginning of 2019, I would like to report not only on the activities of TTU in the last few months of 2018, but also the plan for 2019.

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1. ACTIVITIES of the Provost office

Professor of Business Henry Webb of the Indiana University in Pennsylvania (UIP), new vice dean of the TTU School of Business and Economics (SBE) 

In each month of 2018, there was the monthly academic council meeting attended by all the deans, vice-deans, and chiefs of departments (administrative staff). We reviewed all the academic activities. In the January meeting, I informed the council of the academic plan and the summer clerkship in the US and Singapore for 2019. We also heard the plan for recruitment in 2019 from Mr Mai Van Toan, our new officer of Public Relations and Recruitment. Mr Toan has much experience in the public relations and recruitment arena at other major universities in Vietnam. I also informed the council of the appointment of Dr Henry Webb, Assoc. Professor of Business at the Indiana University in Pennsylvania, to be vice dean of the TTU School of Business and Economics (SBE). Please give a warm welcome to our new officers, Mr Mai Van Toan and Dr Henry Webb.

At the January 2019 meeting, I met Vice Provost Huynh Ho to discuss the progress of the Quality Assurance program at TTU and other administrative questions. I really appreciate the help of VP Huynh Ho because he is very experienced in dealing with paperwork required by the government.


On Sunday 1/13/2019 seniors of the Hoa Lu and Tran Hung Dao came to Long An and enjoyed the open house of Tan Tao University

Recruitment of 2019 On Monday January 14th, 2019, I met Mr Mai Duc Toan of the Public Relations and Recruitment office to go over the recruitment strategy. In 2019, TTU is planning to have a major drive in recruitment through social media, promotional meetings, many open houses and visits from high school students at our Long An campus. Our US faculty will participate actively in this recruitment drive and offer private career selection counseling with high school students (need to make an appointment at the recruitment office).

Final Graduation Exam for 2019 Medical Graduates On Monday January 14th, 2019, I met Prof Le Xuan Truong, dean of studies at the SOM, and the administrative staff. We discussed the plan for graduation, the composition of the final graduation exam (8/2019), and post graduate training of our first medical graduates in 9/2019.

English Tract at the School of Medicine In 2018, the SOM received two inquiries for an English tract for students coming from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and other countries in South East Asia and the US to study medicine at TTU. This subject was discussed in detail at a meeting with the leadership team of the SOM; namely, Assoc. Prof. Pham Nguyen Vinh, chief of the Medicine Department, Prof. Le Quang Nghia, chief of the Surgery department, Assoc. Prof. Vu Huy Tru, chief of the Pediatric department, Dr Nguyen Tu Van, Chief of OB-GYN, Professor Le Van Cuong, Chief of the Anatomy department, and Dr. Le Xuan Truong, Dean of Studies. In the meeting, I briefed them on the current situation of the SOM, the plan for a final graduation exam (8/2019) and the graduation of the first class of medical students of TTU (9/2019), job prospects (18 months mandatory training in a hospital), and their plan for sitting on the USMLE exam. I also briefed the senior faculty about the possibility of an English tract at the SOM. The opinions were that the SOM needs to have a cautious approach in this project because of lack of faculty who can teach basic sciences and do bedside rounds in English.

Clinical Teaching On Saturday afternoon, January 12, 2019, I met all clinical instructors of the SOM working at the hospitals where the TTU medical students are doing their clerkship. These include Binh Dan, Tam Duc, Nguyen Tri Phuong, Thong Nhat, Cho Ray, Uong Buou, and Nhi Dong. I reviewed the schedules of rotation, the attendance of students, the assignment of bedside teaching, and the feedback from faculty and students. In general, the TTU SOM faculty team will need to focus further on clinical training of students with better bedside teaching.

New Focus of the School of Engineering On Monday January 14, I met Dr Cao Tien Dung, Vice Dean of the School of Engineering (SE). We discussed the new direction of the SE which focuses on a new course of Data Sciences and Artificial Intelligence.

At the end of December, 2018, the school of Engineering organized a seminar of Data Sciences and Artificial Intelligence. It was successful and well attended by many faculty and students

The School of Business and Economics (SBE) During the same day, I met new vice-dean Henry Webb of the SBE to discuss the development strategy for the SBE and the plan to send SBE students to do summer clerkship in the US in 2019. 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 business.


Currently, there are two students of the school of Biotechnology, Vy Le and Nhung Nguyen, doing clerkship at the laboratories of MD Anderson hospital, which is affiliated with the McGovern School of Medicine, University of Texas in Houston

School of Medicine On Monday afternoon December 3rd, 2018, Assoc. Prof L X Truong and I met the first and second year students. In the meeting, I asked the students about their learning experiences and activities. I asked what else the TTU SOM could do so the students can learn better. I also informed the students about the English tract at the TTU SOM and listened to their feedback.

School of Biotechnology On Monday afternoon December 3rd,2018, Acting Dean Truong Nguyen and I met the students of the school of biotechnology. I asked about their plan after graduation from TTU. The students gave me an array of plans from working to doing research to starting a new biotechnology company and businesses. For the students who like to do more research, Prof Truong Nguyen promised to find for them post-doctoral scholarships leading to a PhD degree in Korea. We also discussed the plan for clerkship of students of the school of Biotech at the U of Texas in Houston. Currently there are two students doing research there. The plan is to send more TTU school of Biotech students to the U of Texas in Houston for clerkship.


TTU and Thong Nhat hospital During the months of December 2018 and January 2019, I had meetings with Prof Nguyen Duc Cong, Director of Thong Nhat hospital, about the post graduate training program (18 months), which is mandatory for new medical graduates prior to receiving their license to practice. The training program will follow the US style Internship and Residency program. Currently Thong Nhat hospital continues its preparatory work for the establishment of the program which is planned to start in September of 2019. Prof Nguyen Duc Cong will be the program director and Dr Le Bao Huy will be the vice-director. TTU will help in the academic teaching of the program.

TTU and Nguyen Tri Phuong Hospital On Monday January 14, I met Dr Vo Duc Chien, Director of Nguyen Tri Phuong (NTP) hospital, about the post graduate training program (18 months) which is mandatory for new medical graduates prior to receiving their license to practice. The training program will follow the US style Internship and Residency program.

TTU and Binh Dan Hospital During the afternoon of January 14, Dr. Le Xuan Truong and I met Prof Tran Vinh Hung, director of Binh Dan hospital, with Prof Le Quang Nghia, Assoc. Prof Duong van Hai, and Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Tuan Vinh also in attendance. During the long meeting, I was told about the efforts and improvements which keep Binh Dan hospital one of the best surgical hospitals in Vietnam, Asia, and the world. Also at this time, I reported on the special training activities of TTU students at the hospitals in Hobart IN, Baltimore MD, and Houston Texas. I promised to have special effort for perfect attendance of TTU students in their surgical rotations at Binh Dan hospital.

5. PLAN for the FUTURE

STRATEGIC GOALS of 2019-2025: Quality and Excellence

In the last 2 years, the goals of TTU were to consolidate its foundation and activities, mainly of the school of medicine. In the next 5 years, the goal is for the entire TTU to grow in quality and excellence; namely, quality in teaching and research and excellence in operations.

The goals are to teach the students to be independent in thinking and action. They need to think critically, to prepare the plans wisely, to execute them successfully, and to take responsibilities for the results irrelevant of the outcome (which could excellent or suboptimal). The best way of teaching for faculty is to be a role model for students because the students look up to them to observe how a faculty member faces a difficult situation, selects and analyzes the relevant data, devises a clever strategy, plans a brilliant tactical move, or executes it effectively for a final great success. The students learn more from these live observations and emulate these reactions when the students are in the same situations.

Teaching Schedule of US faculty

In August 2018, many 5th year medical students made rounds with Dr Neal Kleiman, who is well known in the US cardiology world. Neal mentioned to me that he was quite impressed with the level of medical knowledge of the students. He complained that I asked the students to come for rounds during their vacation time. It is sacrilegious from the American point of view.

In January 2019, Dr Andy Nguyen, professor of Hematology and Pathology made rounds with TTU students at the Ung Buou hospital. He also lectured at the Ung Buou, Nguyen Tri Phuong, and Thong Nhat hospitals.

Professor Henry Webb, new vice dean of the SBE met with faculty, staff and students for a major remake of the SBE. Two things on which the SBE is currently focused are updating the curriculum and the US summer clerkship.

In February 2019, on Tuesday 2/12 and Wednesday 2/13, Dr Hung Phan, an internist in Southern California, will make rounds with students at NTP hospital. For two weeks Dr Ernest Talarico Jr, Associate professor of Anatomy of Indiana U, will teach anatomy (1 day) and Problem Based Learning (PBL) for 6 days to the 3rd year medical students.

In March 2019, Dr Gaurav Alreja, a nephrologist, and Dr Namra Setia, assistant Professor of Pathology of the U of Chicago, will make rounds with students and teach at NTP hospital. Dr Gianluca Rigatelli will tutor peripheral angioplasty at the cardiac catheterization laboratories of NTP hospital.

In August 2019, Neil Weisman MD, professor of Georgetown U SOM in Washington DC, will come and teach.

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. 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.


School of Medicine The plan for the summer 2019 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 and a few physicians from various medical schools in Vietnam.

In the hospital setting, in addition to beside medical knowledge, the TTU students need to learn about interpersonal and communication skills that enable them to establish and maintain professional relationships with patients, families, and other members of health care teams. The students need to use effective listening, nonverbal expression, questioning, and narrative skills to communicate with patients and families.

The TTU medical students will participate in the International Cadaver Prosection course organized by the Indiana University SOM. There will be four students who will do a clerkship on Hematology at the U of Texas in Houston (2 students each time for one month). There will also be two students doing a clerkship at the U of Maryland in Emergency medicine.

Medical students Nguyen C Linh, Le Vy and Dr. Wahed (right) and Dr. Manuel (left) at the Department of Hematopathology of the Hermann Memorial Hospital affiliated with the University of Texas in Houston (summer 2018)

School of Business and Economics The plan for summer clerkship for the SBE is going as planned. The site of clerkship could be at the Indiana U in Pennsylvania, Singapore, or Pecs, Hungary. At all times the question of room and board needs to be addressed in addition to the question of training.

School of Biotechnology In 2018-2019 two students went to the U of Texas in Houston for 3 months clerkship at the biotechnology laboratories. The plan is for at least four students from the school of Biotech to come to Houston for summer clerkship in 2019. This week, I will meet Drs Theresa M. Koehler, Ph.D. Herbert L. and Margaret W. DuPont Distinguished Professor in Biomedical Science, Chair, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, and Kevin A. Morano, Ph.D. Roger J. Bulger, MD Distinguished Professor, University of Texas Distinguished Teaching Professor, Professor, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs. Both are the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston | McGovern Medical School, Houston TX. The meeting is to increase collaboration between the TTU School of Biotech and the McGovern Medical School, in Houston. Practically, TTU likes to send more students to do research clerkship at Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, in Houston TX (where 2 TTU students are doing clerkship).


Students of School of Biotechnology of TTU at 1st INDO-ASEAN Conference on Innovative Approach in Applied Sciences and Technologies (iAsT) (6/2018)

2018 In October, ten TTU students presented their work 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 four TTU students presented their research at the Joint Coronary Revascularization meeting in Busan Korea.

In 2019, the plan for presentations at various meetings in Vietnam or abroad is going as planned. In July, TTU students plan to present their research at the Central Congress of Cardiology meeting in Hue (Friday 7/12) and at the Geriatric meeting organized by Thong Nhat hospital (Saturday 7/13). In August, the students will present their work at the Thang Long Cardiology (Saturday 7/17) and the Trans-MedVN meetings (Sunday 8/18) in Hanoi. In October, the students will plan to present their research work at the Great Wall International Conference in Cardiology (GWICC). In December, there will be presentations at the VN interventional cardiology meeting in Danang on Saturday 12/7. This is a joint project sponsored by the VN interventional cardiology society, the US Navy, and the US Society of Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI). This will be held in Busan Korea as in the past 5 years.

8. MEETINGS with STUDENTS in 2019

On Saturday February 23, 2019 I plan to meet all 6th and 5th year medical students. I will spend one hour with each class. The topics of discussion for the 6th year medical students include the Final Graduation in 8/2019 and the plan of post graduate training in VN or the US. The discussion with the 5th year medical students will include the plan for training in 2020 when they are in their 6th year of medical training (sub-intern), and the current situation of bedside clinical teaching.

9. Back to the Future: To Perform with Quality and To Result in Excellence

After finishing the 2018 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. Please continue to encourage your children to try harder, study SMARTER, 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. For all the schools of TTU, we need to do everything with QUALITY so the outcome will result in EXCELLENCE.

All the best wishes for the Lunar New Year, the year of the Pig.

Sincerely yours,

Acting Provost of TTU
Dean of the TTU School of Medicine