REI-Vietnam News

Category  –  Medicine

A REI Team Trifecta

by REI-Vietnam |

Image: A REI Team Trifecta
Dental, Otology and Art Journaling Teams

REI has hosted a large number of volunteer teams serving in Vietnam over the past 25 years. Generally we seek to field one team at a time, to simplify logistics. But this month we had three volunteer teams of specialists serve simultaneously! Our Dental Team, Cochlear Implant/Otology Team, and a new initiative, our Art Journaling Team, served in Hanoi the final week of March—our own version of March Madness!

REI Spring 2017 Medical Team

by REI-Vietnam |

Image: REI Spring 2017 Medical Team
Bringing help and hope in multiple arenas

A new year, a new series of volunteer teams serving in Vietnam! Our first team of the season, our Medical Team, invested the week of February 20-24 serving in Hanoi. In the past we have called this our ENT (Ears, Nose and Throat) Team, but this year the team, our largest ever, served in a greater variety of venues than simply ENT.

Advancing Health Care

by REI-Vietnam |

Image: Advancing Health Care
...through the Nurses and Physician Team

“Before you came I didn't know that my knowledge was limited. You were the first person to work beside me and teach me that I can do more!” This from a young nurse at Hanoi Medical University to a member of our Nurses and Physician Team who served in Hanoi in September and October of this year. In fact, we saw an incredible amount of progress in health care in the hospitals where we have been working over the past several years. What advancements did we see?

The Heart of the Matter

by REI-Vietnam |

Image: The Heart of the Matter
Developing Pediatric Cardiology in Vietnam

Congenital heart defects affect 8 out of 1000 newborns, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Even 15 years ago, many of these newborns would simply die in Vietnam. Today, with the advances made in pediatric cardiology, most of these infants can be successfully treated and go on to live healthy, normal lives. Long-time REI volunteer Dr. Austin Raunikar is seeking to help raise the standard of children’s heart care in Vietnam.

A Story of Giving

by REI-Vietnam |

Image: A Story of Giving
Sharing Healing, Sharing Hearts

For many of us Westerners, this is the season of giving. We here at REI would like to share with you a story of giving—a story of kindness, of generosity, of devotion, of hope. It involves many people, though we will focus on only a few. May your heart be encouraged and inspired!

Teamwork in Patient Safety

by REI-Vietnam |

Image: Teamwork in Patient Safety
Clarifying Priorities, Transfering Skills

What should be the emphasis in health care? This question could receive a variety of responses. Better health outcomes? Patient satisfaction? A good bottom line for shareholders? Dr. Elaine Goehner, our team leader for our Nurses/Mixed Medical Team, believes that the emphasis must be on patient safety, achieved through better teamwork among the different health care professionals.

Something Old, Something New

by REI-Vietnam |

Image: Something Old, Something New
ENT and Urology Training

In April our Mixed Medical Team brought further training in one of the earliest medical specialties where REI has made a contribution, ENT (Ears, Nose, and Throat). We also brought training in our newest specialty: Urology. This last makes the 20th medical specialty that we have been able to offer! Longtime volunteer Dr. Craig Hedges and his friend and first-timer to Vietnam, Dr. Darlys Hofer (above), invested two weeks in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to build people to build their nation.

Spring Update: Dental Specialty Team and More

by REI-Vietnam |

Image: Spring Update: Dental Specialty Team and More
Building Vietnam's Dental Capacity

In the springtime, as migratory birds fly northward and young men’s fancies turn to love, our REI volunteers make their way to Vietnam. This month we are highlighting the contribution made by our Dental Specialty Team, as part of our Mixed Medical Team. (We also had an ENT Team and a Business Team serve, but space constraints, alas, only allow us to focus on one part of a greater whole!)

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.

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