Emergency Medicine (EM) was recognized as a specialty in Vietnam in 2010, which coincided with the creation of an EM residency in the city of Hue, in Northern Vietnam. To date, no additional EM residencies or sustained training programs have been established. Since 2013, the University of Utah has been involved in EM training in Ho Chi Minh City, in coordination with the government trauma hospital Cho Ray as well as the regional medical school and additional hospitals. The collaboration with University of Utah has taken different forms, ranging from annual resuscitation conferences*, Primary Trauma Care training, ongoing online interactive EM conferences, and in-person and bedside teaching with visiting faculty, fellows, and residents. Additionally, the University of Utah has hosted Vietnamese physicians to participate in EM training and department observation to supplement implementation of triage and trauma protocols at Cho Ray.
Cho Ray is a busy referral center, seeing over 120,000 patients in the ED annually, with approximately 50% of these being trauma patients. Many of the recipients of the University of Utah training efforts are residents in an existing critical care medicine program, which includes a 3-month coverage of EM topics. However, most participants in this program will not be practicing in EM, and many of those currently working in the ED are likely to change specialties within 1–2 years.
There are many challenges to attracting physicians to the specialty of EM in Vietnam, including salary, schedule, and reputation. However, there are efforts to attract and retain EM specialists. In addition, the Ministry of Health has recognized the importance of developing EM capacity, reflecting the World Health Organization’s resolutions 60.22 and 72.31, which highlight the importance of developing emergency and trauma care systems. While the long-term goal of creating an actual EM residency at Cho Ray exists, after multiple conversations with hospital leadership, plans were made to develop an EM diploma program. The diploma program is an 18-month EM curriculum that includes both didactic and clinical skills elements. It is modeled after similar programs that have been successful in South Africa, Kenya, Singapore, Myanmar, and other countries.
The inaugural class faces many challenges: not only a new concept and training paradigm, but amid an ongoing pandemic. The original design had many visiting professors from the University of Utah and UC Davis to guide in-person and skills teaching, but this is not currently possible, so the majority of the teaching will be online. Local critical care instructors from the critical care residency will help teach skills. Thus, the leadership at Cho Ray Hospital has opted to start with just 2 learners, who are physicians already working in the ED at Cho Ray. The curriculum will include asynchronous assignments, interactive online lectures and teaching modules, and virtual SIM. The curriculum will be supported by the active retrieval involved with weekly assigned Rosh Review questions.
Rosh Review is honored to be a part of this program.
*2013: “Emergency Medicine Conference”; 2014: “Updates on Emergency and Critical Care”; 2015: “Updates on Emergency Medicine and Critical Care Conference”; 2016: “Sepsis and Trauma Management Conference”