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April 6, 2004

Vietnamese Physicians Visit School to Study Health Care Delivery to Disadvantaged Populations

On a month-long tour researching U.S. health care strategies for under-served populations, three Vietnamese physicians met April 2 with researchers from the Center for American Indian Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Studying how other countries deliver health care to disadvantaged populations is a good way to develop sound policies of one’s own, according to Dr. Phuc Tan Huynh, a national health team leader from World Vision International in Vietnam. 

The physicians are in the United States from March 27 through April 24 to participate in the Rural Medicine and Preventive Health Care project. The project seeks strategies on how Vietnam can coordinate its approach to rural medicine and focuses on the delivery of health care to under-served populations, particularly low-income and socially and ethnically diverse groups. “[This project] provides us with a comprehensive learning experience, not just sitting in rooms learning from books,” said Dr. Hien Thi Thu Tran, a project coordinator from the World Concern Development Organization.

Dr. Chuon Van Gia Phan, a medical doctor at Tu Du Obstetrics-Gynecology Hospital, is the third doctor participating in the project. All three physicians work mostly in low-income, rural areas of Vietnam.

At the School of Public Health, they met with Mathuram Santosham, MD, MPH, director of the Center for American Indian Health. The Center operates more than 10 satellite health stations on the Navajo, White Mountain Apache, Gila River, and Wind River Indian Reservations and is engaged in training and consultation work with additional American Indian communities across the country. Felicia Frizzell, training program coordinator at the Center, gave a brief presentation on the Center’s Family Spirit Program, which provides education and counseling for young Indian parents largely through home visits. 

"We can learn from the policies of the United States government and how they are providing services to minority groups,” Dr. Huynh said. The federal policies give them the big picture. The visit to the School, he said, gave them specific information about how one program works.--Kristi Birch

Public Affairs Media Contacts for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Tim Parsons or Kenna Brigham at 410-955-6878 or paffairs@jhsph.edu.