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Penn Extends its Global Reach to Improve Health Care Education and Quality of Care in Southeast Asia

Penn Medicine, Penn Nursing, and Vingroup establish a formal alliance to advance medical education and clinical care in Vietnam

Penn Medicine and Penn Nursing have launched a formal alliance with the Vingroup – an enterprise that encompasses a newly formed private not-for-profit university project, VinUni, as well as the largest and leading private health service provider in Vietnam, Vinmec – in an effort to improve health care and to create new undergraduate and graduate medical training programs in Vietnam.

“Penn is proud to share our 250 years of experience in research and clinical care – steeped in innovation, education, and community service – to help train, educate, provide better care to the citizens around the world,” said J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD, executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System and dean of the Perelman School of Medicine.

The partnership will focus initially on the establishment of medical and nursing schools within VinUni, and on the enhancement of graduate medical education and health care programs within the Vinmec Health Care System. Together, Penn Medicine and Penn Nursing will also work to develop the undergraduate curriculum and align faculty and institutional support structures to establish high caliber educational and training programs.

“The Penn Center for Global Health currently operates Centers of Engagement in Africa and Latin America; extending our reach into Vietnam with the new Center of Engagement in Southeast Asia was a natural step, and a very exciting one for Penn, global health as a whole, and most importantly for the people of Vietnam,” said project director Glen Gaulton, PhD, vice dean and director of Penn’s Center for Global Health.

Vietnam, a country of roughly 96 million people, has significant disparities in both the access to and provision of health care. The partnership will provide opportunities to implement effective public health approaches such as preventative medicine, mobile health technologies, and population-scale “big-data” analytics. The new initiative is part of the Center for Global Health’s strategy of establishing Regional Centers of Engagement to address disparities in health equity worldwide through efforts that unite Penn Medicine’s missions of education, research, clinical care and community service.

“The Center of Engagement in Southeast Asia and our partnership with the Vingroup represents a unique opportunity for Penn Medicine and Penn Nursing to innovate in interdisciplinary education and to provide faculty and trainees opportunities at VinUni and Penn to engage in studies to improve the health of the Vietnamese people,” said Penn Nursing Dean Antonia M. Villarruel PhD, RN, FAAN.

Penn will also support the Vinmec Health Care System to enhance the quality of care and clinical training, initially at the International Hospital in Times City, Hanoi. The ultimate goal is to build a new VinUni/Vinmec teaching hospital in Hanoi, along with future plans to create the medical residency training programs and a robust clinical research portfolio focused on translational medicine.

“The University of Pennsylvania, Penn Nursing and Penn Medicine have set a world-class standard in education and have a very well-deserved global reputation,” said Le Thuy Anh, Vinmec CEO. “Penn has exemplified a standard of excellence that we hope to achieve. And of course, with its legacy of excellence in education and clinical practice, Penn gives us confidence that we are collaborating with one of the leaders in the world.”

Penn will form joint working groups with colleagues in Vinmec and VinUni led from Penn by Gail Morrison, MD, Lee Fleisher, MD, Julie Sochalski, PhD, RN, FAAN, Lisa Bellini, MD, and Gaulton to advance the project goals.