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Emergency Medicine Training in Vietnam

Emergency medicine (EM) as a specialty has enjoyed rapid acceptance, continued evolution and growth worldwide since its inception in the 1960s. However, there remain many areas of the world where EM is still underdeveloped or non-existent. In many developed countries, EM care delivery systems have become a cornerstone of modern health-care systems. In a public health capacity the emergency department is a foundation and access point for further health care. As such, the University of Utah Division of Emergency Medicine recognizes that all countries should strive to provide access to high quality emergency care for their citizens. We endeavor to support these efforts in building strong, successful, and sustainable post graduate EM training programs by making high-quality medical education more easily accessible to aspiring EM physicians and trainees, especially those in resource-limited settings.

While there have been advances in medical education, the current paradigm of medical education in global health has been in the form of sending educators to partner countries and providing didactic education in the form of in-person lectures or medical conferences. This is a costly and time consuming process for both parties and exhausts valuable resources. When faced with the time and financial constraints of international work, disruptions in the frequency and continuity of educational interventions are common.

Since the world financial crisis in 2008 global health has struggled and many academic institutions have decreased funding for international work. Now more than ever, global health is in need of disruptive innovation in which organizations with limited size and resources are able to find cost-effective, creative and efficacious means to push the field of global medicine forward.

In Vietnam, just such a project is taking place. Currently we have completed 7 months of a 12 month project at our partner site, Cho Ray Hospital, in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Our current partner site of Cho Ray Hospital was selected through a preexisting partnership, in which, for the past 4 years, we have been engaged in training and educating EM trainees and physicians through yearly CME and educational conferences done in country. Over time we recognized the need for more regular and consistent educational efforts, but were limited by constraints on time and finances.

In an effort to better meet educational needs in EM, trauma, and critical care in Ho Chi Minh City and other resource limited settings we have developed a novel approach of collaborative curriculum development and interactive videoconference based tele-education. By using free, ubiquitous and easily accessible digital tools (Google Hangout, SLACK, Survey Monkey) we are now able to provide consistent, high-quality EM education in a format that is inherently low-cost and conserves resources for all parties involved. It is our feeling that this proposal represents a sustainable and easily transferable model, scalable to any developing country in the world.

With our current project, we teach 2 classes a month to residents and physicians in the busiest trauma center in Ho Chi Minh City. The lectures are given from home and consist of a 30 minute presentation with 20 minutes of discussion followed by a case presentation by our Vietnamese colleagues. Our approach challenges the current medical education paradigm by presenting a new model for post-graduate medical education in developing nations and support for training program development. Whereas traditional models have been limited by time and financial constraints in support of developing programs, new technologies paired with the proposed model will no longer limit the frequency, consistency, and quality of education for developing programs. While video-based tele-education is not a new concept per se, its use as an EM educational platform in a global health context is novel, and a challenge to existing methods