HPM Students Connect 8,000 Miles from East Baltimore
Stephanie Joseph De Goes (MPH ‘06) and Nadine Rogers (PhD ’02) met as newcomers to the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam. Nadine, part of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), the nation’s leading agency on issues of addiction and behavioral health, was posted to Hanoi as the team lead. Previously, she’d spent 10 years at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Stephanie was taking on the role of the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Coordinator in Vietnam after two years in similar roles in Guyana, Rwanda and Angola. When the two met, the quickly discovered they were part of the Bloomberg School’s extensive alumni network and even shared the same mentor, Janice Bowie, (PhD ’97).
As the SAMHSA team lead in Vietnam, Nadine advocates for and manages programming focused on evidence-based addiction treatment options for those with substance abuse disorder, particularly in a punitive environment where drug abuse and HIV intersect.
Recently, the SAMHSA team and its implementing partner—Hanoi Medical University— hosted a U.S. delegation and a group of Vietnamese policymakers, educators, providers, counselors, peer educators, and patients in a roundtable to discuss the national response to drug abuse and HIV. This event showcased a SAMHSA diffusion model—the Addiction Technology Transfer Center—that enables capacity building in addiction treatment through strengthening academic institutions.
The U.S. delegates learned about the successes and challenges experienced by the Vietnamese national program and the value of programmatic and research collaborations between both countries. They met a patient on Suboxone and an enthusiastic group of students, who will be future addiction providers. The delegates also heard from the Vice Minister of Health about Vietnam’s movement from treating substance abuse as a social evil, to a medical issue.
Nadine and Stephanie have found that their training at the Bloomberg School in the Department of Health Policy and Management prepared them well for engaging with national, provincial, and city government leadership and working through the cultural layers that influence public health efforts in international settings.