REI-Vietnam News

Category  –  Medicine

A Thank-you from Duc

by REI-Vietnam |

Image: A Thank-you from Duc
… and from all of us at REI-Vietnam

Duc, pictured above, was diagnosed as a young child with a life-threatening congenital heart defect. Our volunteer surgeons arranged to bring him back to the United States for surgery in December 2006, and performed a successful operation.

Beyond Partnership:  “Our Friends, our Brothers”

by REI-Vietnam |

Image: Beyond Partnership:  “Our Friends, our Brothers”
- Dr. Walter Lee and Dr. Ky in the REI Fellows Program

“Friends and brothers” is how Dr. Le Minh Ky described Dr. Craig Hedges and Dr. Walter Lee, two of REI’s visiting professionals, who hosted Dr. Ky as a REI Fellow from September 17 to November 5 this year. Receiving these Fellows is one component of the exchange in Resource Exchange International. What impact can a program like this have in building a man to build his nation? Click below to read more.

The Power of Partnership: REI’s Nurses Team

by REI-Vietnam |

Image: The Power of Partnership: REI’s Nurses Team
Advancing Health Care through Advancing Partnership

“You’ve done everything I recommended from last year’s visit!” Lily Pang, one of our visiting nurses, exclaimed. Thu, the Head Nurse at Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi, looked embarrassed but pleased. “Well, this is what you told us to do, so we did it!” The two beamed at each other in mutual satisfaction.

This snippet comes from a conversation between Lily (fourth from left) and Thu that took place at Bach Mai last month. REI sent a multi-faceted nurses team to partner with several hospitals in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City from October 20-30. The team consisted of Dr. Elaine Goehner, (Team Leader), Dr. James Miser, Lily, Alexa Lujan, Jeannine Acantilado, Dr. Steven Wolinsky, and Cheryl Kimball, all experienced medical professionals eager to share their expertise with their counterparts in Vietnam.

Ace Barnes – Foundational Builder of REI’s Medical Program

by REI-Vietnam |

Image: Ace Barnes – Foundational Builder of REI’s Medical Program
Ace and Jean at home in New Mexico

Over the past twenty years of REI-Vietnam’s history, there have been some significant volunteers who have contributed greatly in the development of the REI’s medical work. From time to time in the coming months, we want to honor these individuals by telling their stories in the REI website News Section. This month it is our privilege to introduce you to a couple who was one of our early volunteers, Dr. Ace and Mrs. Jean Barnes. For eighteen years from its 1994 inception, Asa "Ace" Barnes, pathologist, was as a key leader in growing our medical program. In total, he made two dozen trips to Vietnam and was instrumental in launching new partnerships in both Hanoi and Hue. Additionally, starting in 1998, Ace acted as Co-Team Leader in launching REI's Family Practice program.

Ten Years Well Invested

by Randy Vernon |

Image: Ten Years Well Invested
Judy Fenlason with OT/PT team, biking to conduct a therapy workshop (2005)

Twenty years, actually, adding Cliff and Judy Fenlason’s REI tenures together. This month REI-Vietnam celebrates the many years of service of Cliff and Judy, who will be ending their formal contribution to REI the end of May 2014. Their professional and personal investment in the lives of the Vietnamese people has made a profound and permanent impact. Read more about their legacy…

Cardiology/Family Medicine Team Offers Education to over 400 Doctors

by Lily Lauer |

Image: Cardiology/Family Medicine Team Offers Education to over 400 Doctors
Dr. Dan & Carol Mitchell, Madame Lien, Dr. Jesse Jorgensen, Dr. Mark & Carol Duster, Dr. Austin Raunikar

It was a busy and productive trip to Vietnam for the Fall 2013 Cardiology/Family Medicine team led by Dr. Austin Raunikar. The team worked in Da Nang, Hanoi, and Hue and offered education and assistance to over 400 doctors in various locations over a two week period. The team was able to reconnect with old friends and establish new relationships that they are confident will foster advancement for the program in the coming years.

Nursing Program Growing

by Lily Lauer |

Image: Nursing Program Growing
Attendees of the 2013 Patient Safety Seminar in Hanoi

This past September in Hanoi, REI’s Nursing Education Team, led by Dr. Elaine Goehner, conducted a seminar on patient safety. Roughly 100 nurses, doctors, pharmacists, staff, and leadership from eight different hospitals were in attendance. REI’s friend, Dr. Thu, was also involved with the seminar serving as both an interpreter and as a lecturer speaking about how to measure organizational readiness for change. (Read more about Dr. Thu here: The feedback received was very favorable, and the nursing team was asked to come back to offer a second seminar in 2014. To capitalize on what will be taught during the seminar, the nursing team plans to conduct one day of workshops, and then work with each hospital on issues specific to their situation and needs.

Nurses Bring Heart, Skill, and Vision to Vietnam

by REI-Vietnam |

Image: Nurses Bring Heart, Skill, and Vision to Vietnam
Kathie Cowie and Dr. Elaine Goehner present materials to faculty

A recent Gallup Poll showed that nursing is the most trusted profession in the US. Perhaps one reason is that nurses are not only well trained but that those drawn to the profession are compassionate people who have a heart to help others. REI is privileged to have two women with large hearts of compassion who are helping to advance nursing education and nursing practice in Vietnam.

ENT Surgeons in Vietnamese Exchange

by Lily Lauer with Jeff Stebbins |

Image: ENT Surgeons in Vietnamese Exchange
ENT medical team relaxing on a free day
It was a busy week for the team of seven otorhinolaryngologists (Ear, Nose & Throat doctors, or “ENTs”) who served in Vietnam this past March—and an adventure for Jeff Stebbins, who facilitated the trip. Jeff has a “Dr.” before his name, but he has a PhD in linguistics, not medicine. This was his first medical trip, so—besides offering his valuable skills in language, culture, logistical coordination, and ordering noodles—he was able to observe our very talented team of ENTs as they performed patient consultations, lectures, and surgeries.

Family Members Relish Teamwork

by Cliff Fenlason |

Image: Family Members Relish Teamwork
Dr. Morgan and daughter with E Hospital friends

What joy for family members to serve together in meaningful work! REI's February-March ENT specialty medical team had several prime examples.

Attending Physicians Bring Resident Physicians

by Cliff Fenlason |

Image: Attending Physicians Bring Resident Physicians
ENT residents performing surgery
Vietnamese physicians are eager to learn the latest knowledge and skills from our REI medical teams. Increasingly, they want to learn about how we in America train our specialists too. Attending physicians who bring resident physicians with them provide a valuable model of how we teach and train.

Between patient, scope, camera and microphone

by Cliff Fenlason |

Image: Between patient, scope, camera and microphone
Live demonstration underway in GI workshop

Three REI gastroenterologists conducted a major workshop for about sixty like specialists from the southern region last October. It was well organized and hosted by the University Medical Center (UMC) in Ho Chi Minh City and fabulously supported by the FujiFilm company. Much more ceremony and hoopla than we're used to, but it was well done and very effective!

Building Professionally and Personally

by Cliff Fenlason |

Image: Building Professionally and Personally
A relaxed ENT & Mixed Specialty team at their hotel

You know our visiting and resident professionals are adding a lot to their Vietnamese counterparts’ professional knowledge, skill and other expertise. But that’s only half of the story!

Dr. Anh Completes REI Medical Fellowship

by Cliff Fenlason |

Image: Dr. Anh Completes REI Medical Fellowship
Observational Fellowships are a key part of the "exchange" concept in REI

Professional Experiences

Dr. Anh, REI-VN’s most recent fellow completed her observational fellowship with two gastroenterologists, Dr. Larry Kim from South Denver Gastroenterology, Denver, Colorado and Dr. Dick Baerg, Founder of the Tacoma Digestive Disease Center and the Tacoma Endoscopy Center. While with Dr. Kim and Dr. Baerg, Dr. Anh observed consults, follow up of patients, in-patient care, routine endoscopy procedures as well as advanced endoscopy such as ERCP (endoscopic cholangiography ) and EUS (endoscopic ultrasound). While in Washington state she and Dick Baerg also toured the UW Medicine GI facilities in Seattle. Dr. Anh is preparing for the addition of EUS capacity at her hospital in Vietnam.

REI-VN’s Vietnamese Ambassador

by REI-Vietnam |

Image: REI-VN’s Vietnamese Ambassador
Lien with friends of REI-VN in San Francisco

Lien Tran, REI's Representative for Vietnam Relations, may be small in stature, but in every other way she is big for REI-Vietnam. Her head, hands and heart are all engaged to meet the needs of anyone who is in need of her help. This may be expressed by getting medicine for a visiting professional who is sick, taking a visiting professional to the best shop for buying embroidery pictures, visiting a sick family member of a Vietnamese friend, helping one of REI-Vietnam’s resident professional with visa issues, or waiting at Noibai airport to greet an arriving team member’s midnight arrival. When asked for help if it is within her power to do so, her answer is always “yes”.

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