Foster School of Medicine’s Innovative Curriculum Impacts Health Education Across the Globe
In an effort to advance medical training and education in Vietnam, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) has partnered with the University of Medicine and Pharmacy at Ho Chi Minh City (UMP-HCM) and Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine (PNT UOM), both in Ho Chi Minh City. Last month, leadership from the two institutions visited TTUHSC El Paso for the first time. Tran Diep Tuan, M.D., president and dean of UMP-HCM, Vu Minh Phuc, M.D., vice dean of UMP-HCM, and Pham Dang Dieu, M.D., vice dean of PNT UOM, toured the campus and visited with TTUHSC El Paso President Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A. Photos by Tommie Morelos / TTUHSC El Paso.

Foster School of Medicine’s Innovative Curriculum Impacts Health Education Across the Globe

After a four-year partnership with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, the Vietnam Ministry of Health is developing a National Faculty Development Program for medical schools in South Vietnam. The initiative mirrors a program originally started in the Foster School of Medicine.

In 2017, TTUHSC El Paso partnered with the University of Medicine and Pharmacy at Ho Chi Minh (UMP-HCM) and Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine, both in Ho Chi Minh City, to advance medical training and education in Vietnam. The partnership works through the TTUHSC El Paso Collaborative Education Program (CEP), an international faculty development initiative. The program incorporates an integral component of faculty development and medical simulation education at the Foster School of Medicine. Medical simulation education takes place at the university’s Training and Educational Center for Healthcare Simulation (TECHS).

TECHS has over 24,000 square feet of simulation laboratory space to provide experiential learning through task training, high-fidelity simulation experiences, virtual reality simulators and standardized patient experiences. The environment gives health care professionals and students a chance to refine their clinical skills and see the immediate effects of clinical decisions they may encounter in real-life situations.

TTUHSC El Paso Vice President for Outreach and Community Engagement Jose Manuel de la Rosa, M.D., M.Sc., said successful partnerships like this one help lay a foundation for more international community engagement initiatives through the TTUHSC El Paso Office of Outreach and Community Engagement. They also ensure the needs of students and educators are met.

“We have a unique way of teaching. We refocus our medical education by having students concentrate on being a doctor from the very beginning through a participatory curriculum,” Dr. de la Rosa said. “The importance of our university interacting with international universities and taking these methodologies abroad is significant. It really benefits everyone involved. It advances the quality of teaching and ultimately the preparation of physicians around the globe.”

Hoi Ho, M.D., founder and director of the CEP, and his wife, Tuyen Ho, Pharm.D., BCPS, clinical assistant professor at TTUHSC El Paso and co-director of CEP, assisted TTUHSC El Paso with the development of the program. They have brought faculty members from the two institutions in Vietnam to the El Paso campus for training in faculty and curriculum development, standardized patient programs, medical informatics and clinical simulation.

“The impact we have on health care and higher education in El Paso and throughout the world is extraordinary,” Dr. Ho said. “In Vietnam alone, this integral partnership is changing medical education in the entire country.”

Additionally, the two have helped both universities in Vietnam establish their simulation centers like TTUHSC El Paso’s TECHS. With necessary resources and a clearly defined teaching method, they also helped establish a Unit of Faculty Development at each institution.

“Neither of the schools had the essential structure to start, but they had a commitment and a desire to change,” said Dr. Ho. “Focusing on clinical simulation is very important for nursing and medical training because it decreases the number of errors that happen in everyday practice and increases the level of effective collaboration and communication.”

The success is apparent in El Paso and Vietnam. Following the framework of the program, several institutions sent faculty members to UMP-HCM for training in faculty development. The institution was also asked to join Hanoi Medical University to create two national testing centers for assessing and certifying the professional competency of medical graduates.

“The partnership between TTUHSC El Paso and UMP-HCM, and the establishment of the Collaborative Educational Program, have undoubtedly opened not only an opportunity for academic collaboration but also a long-lasting partnership for us to enhance the quality and outcomes of medical education,” said Tran Diep Tuan, M.D., Ph.D., president of the UMP-HCM Board of Trustees.

In January, the two medical schools in Vietnam received full accreditation from the Society for Simulation in Healthcare.

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