OMI Expands Its Global Footprint and Runs First Seminar in Southeast Asia

Jul 19, 2023

Imagine a world where access to quality healthcare is not a privilege, but a standard. At the OMI, we work towards making that a reality. Recognizing that a skilled health workforce is the backbone of every healthcare system, we support free and equitable access to quality education and training for doctors from developing countries. Over the past 30 years, since our launch in 1993, the OMI has trained more than 27,000 doctors from 130 countries across the globe to improve health workforce development and retention. While the OMI’s headquarters in Salzburg focuses on Central and Eastern Europe, Africa, Central Asia, and the Middle East, the OMI’s hub in Mexico City serves doctors from Latin America. In March 2023, the OMI signed a memorandum of understanding with VinUniversity, located in Hanoi, Vietnam, paving the way for further global expansion of the program into Southeast Asia.

Vietnam is a country at the eastern edge of mainland Southeast Asia, with an area of 331,212 square kilometers and a population of 100 million, making it the fifteenth most populated country in the world. Vietnam borders China to the north, and Laos and Cambodia to the west. It shares maritime borders with Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Its capital is Hanoi, and its largest city is Ho Chi Minh City. Once one of the world’s poorest countries, Vietnam has made remarkable progress over the past 35 years. With economic reforms initiated in 1986, Vietnam now has one of the fastest growing economies in Asia.

Established in 2019 by the Vingroup, the largest private conglomerate in Vietnam, VinUniversity is a private, not-for-profit university. It has built strategic collaborations with Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania — a choice that matches the OMI’s academic anchors and speaks for the institution’s commitment to excellence in research and teaching.

From July 16 to 20, 2023, the first OMI Vietnam Seminar in Pediatric Emergency Medicine took place at the VinUniversity campus.

The OMI’s long-term partner in pediatrics, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), provided the academic leadership for the course. A global pioneer in pediatric healthcare, CHOP combines its unique history as the first pediatric hospital in the United States with internationally recognized excellence, making this partnership an invaluable asset to the OMI program. CHOP experts who teach in Salzburg, Mexico City, and for the very first time in Hanoi, are passionate about pediatrics and motivated to make a difference in our world.

Course director, Dr. James M. Callahan, and his expert faculty, Dr. Archana Verma, Dr. Naomi T. Hughes, and Dr. Ashlee Murray, put together a compelling program, including 15 didactic lectures on pediatric advanced life support, pediatric airway emergencies, sepsis and shock in children, neonatal emergencies, fever in infants, chest pain and syncope, Kawasaki disease and multisystem inflammatory syndrome, abdominal pain, status epilepticus, stroke in children, headache, environmental toxins, pediatric trauma and head injuries, pediatric dermatology, and pneumonia.

The 30 participants from all parts of Vietnam, Laos, and Indonesia were exceptionally bright, enthusiastic, and welcoming. One notable feature of the seminar was the opportunity for the young doctors to present and discuss their own clinical cases with the faculty. While there are many common approaches to diseases, there are often differences in strategies and this was a terrific opportunity to learn from each other.

A highlight of the course was the simulation training on Wednesday afternoon. Fellows rotated between four stations, each focusing on a different pediatric emergency: cardiac arrest, septic shock, polytrauma, and diverse procedures such as bag-valve-mask ventilation, endotracheal intubation with direct visualization, oro- and naso-pharyngeal airway replacement and uses, and intraosseous needle insertion. The training took place at the VinUni Medical Simulation Center and was chaperoned by Ms. Tran Thuy Duong, who provided excellent guidance and support.

On Thursday afternoon, CHOP specialists discussed with local experts about neonatal sepsis and status epilepticus during a round table session. Thanks to Dr. Hoa Thi Nguyen and Dr. Phuc Huu Phan from the Vietnam National Hospital of Pediatrics for joining us and sharing their experience.

James M. Callahan, MD

James M. Callahan, MD

OMI Course Director

The first OMI Vietnam seminar has been simply amazing. The engagement, enthusiasm, and quality of our newest OMI fellows from Indonesia, Laos, and all across Vietnam has been so impressive. The CHOP pediatric emergency medicine faculty, who I am privileged to work with every day, have done a great job presenting a wide variety of topics. The faculty have learned so much from the fellows – amazing questions, superb insights, and fascinating and well-presented cases. The OMI case library will have several outstanding additions! The faculty want to thank our partners from OMI, our colleagues from the VinUniversity simulation center, and the VinUniversity leadership for the excellent organization and wonderful support we have received leading up to the course and here in Hanoi. Vietnam is a beautiful country with a great history. Thank you for having us. Our CHOP OMI faculty are proud to have presented the first OMI Vietnam seminar. We hope to return often in the future.

We would like to thank VinUniversity, especially Dr. Le Mai Lan, Vice Chairwoman of Vingroup JSC and President of the University Council, Dr. Le Cu Linh, Interim Dean at the College of Health Sciences, and Dr. Le Van Phuoc, Vice Dean of Clinical Education at the College of Health Sciences, for hosting the first OMI Vietnam seminar and providing superb facilities for teaching, learning, and interacting. A special thanks goes to Ms. Luu Thu Huong, Medical Simulation Centre Manager and External Engagement Lead, and her team who spent many months coordinating this course with us!