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Boat on a river in Vietnam

Học Mãi Foundation

The Australia-Vietnam Medical Foundation
We aim to improve health outcomes through education and research in Vietnam by providing student, staff and healthcare professional exchange programs and in-country support.

Who we are

Established in 2001, Học Mãi (translated to 'forever learning') is a not-for-profit foundation of the University of Sydney. Through the University of Sydney's Office for Global Health and Faculty of Medicine and Health, we bring together the collective healthcare knowledge and experience of Australia and Vietnam in an educational partnership. 

In our earlier years, we relied on the goodwill of Australian healthcare professionals to host and train our Vietnamese colleagues to gain experience and understanding of issues in the developing world. Today, our programs are made possible with the support of sustainable partnerships and generous donations. 

At Học Mãi, we facilitate:

  • exchange programs for Vietnamese medical students and young health professionals to come to Australia for advanced training and to broaden their hospital experience in Australia
  • exchange programs for University of Sydney health students (medical, nursing, health science and public health) to undertake placements with partner institutions in Vietnam
  • education and ‘Train-the-Trainer’ programs in Vietnamese universities and health institutions
  • delegations travelling to Vietnam to teach specialised clinical skills and knowledge in various hospitals in Vietnam
  • medical research and training through practical assistance with preventive, diagnostic and management problems in hospitals in Vietnam. 

We have an extensive network of partners includes Vietnamese universities, hospitals and NGOs. We are also supported by our distinguished Patron, Professor The Honourable Dame Marie Bashir, AD. CVO, former Governor of New South Wales.

Our people

  • The Honourable Dame Professor Marie Bashir AD CVO
Council members
  • Mr Alfred Attard
  • Ms Audrey Blunden
  • Mr Rick Cranna
  • Professor Elizabeth Elliott AM
  • Mr Ross Gavin
  • Emeritus Professor Kerry Goulston AO (Deputy Chair)
  • The Hon Craig Knowles
  • Dr Ji Li
  • Professor Michael Mann AM
  • The Hon Jeannette McHugh
  • Professor Jonathan Morris AM (University Officer)
  • Mr Tom Moult
  • Associate Professor Christopher Pokorny
  • Mr Manoj Santiago (Treasurer)
Honorary council members
  • H.E. Mr Ngo Huong Nam, Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to Australia
  • H.E. Dr Trinh Duc Hai, Consul-General of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in Sydney

Projects and programs

We provide an advanced training course for Vietnamese medical professionals, with sessions in medical education and research, medical English, SPSS and English for nurses. These sessions are taught by a group of Australian volunteers, who are medical specialists, nurses, hospital administrators, allied health, Vietnam veterans, and lay people.

We also bring advanced course cohorts to Sydney for an immersion program. The programs consist of two weeks of interactive seminars and one week of clinical placement in their chosen area of specialisation.

We have been conducting research capacity building programs in Vietnam since 2008, with participants from universities, hospitals and other health institutions. We have also provided some seed funding to help researchers implement their projects.

The six week clinical observer program provides Vietnamese clinicians with an opportunity to observe at a clinical set-up in one of the University of Sydney’s clinical schools. They are matched with Sydney-based clinicians in their area of expertise and observe the day-to-day clinical routines and activities.

Since 2005, we have prioritised work in Dien Bien Province, which is home to 21 ethnic minority groups characterised by poverty, low literacy, poor access to health services, and among the highest maternal and infant mortality rate in Vietnam.

After conducting an educational needs assessment in 2005, a multidisciplinary group from the University subsequently developed and delivered a tailored, interactive, skill-based, small group education programs to clinicians throughout Dien Bien Province. 

Through the Dien Bien Phu Project, we have provided educational opportunities not otherwise available for doctors and nurses in Vietnam, documented gains in knowledge and skills among course participants and increased use of evidence-based practices in Dien Bien Province.

We also promote the exchange of knowledge about radiation oncology. For example, we run a radiation therapy course with the assistance and close collaboration with HCMC Oncology Hospital. We also support a number of Australian radiation therapists to spend time at selected radiation oncology departments, with an emphasis on a technical skills exchange through sustainable approaches such as the 'train the trainer' methodology.

We are committed to internationalising our approaches to teaching and learning. One way we do this is by providing opportunities for students to develop their understanding of global health issues, through a student exchange program. The program allows students to gain new skills and expand their horizons by exposing them to new experiences. Scholarships are available for students to come from Vietnam to Australia, and from Australia to Vietnam.

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