The Ag/Veterinarian Program The Agricultural program which spawned the Veterinarian Program was the first program in REI-Vietnam history. Dr. Paul and Judy VanKleek have led this sector of REI-VN since 1993. The trip this past April was to be Dr. Paul’s final trip, a trip that Paul and Judy were eager to lead. Various faculty and older students had planned special programs and honors for Paul and Judy. However, Paul became seriously ill in the months prior to the trip which prevented their return to Vietnam this Spring. Paul and Judy were greatly missed by all, but the solid foundation that they laid in their years of work was readily apparent as team members were greeted warmly and eagerly by appreciative professionals and students. Paul and Judy were honored in absentia in numerous settings. Kent VanKleek, Paul and Judy's son, was able to receive honors and appreciation on behalf of his father.
The Medical English Program The medical English program which began in Hue just a few years ago was designed to enable nurses to develop knowledge and skills in English while also benefiting from interactions with other visiting medical experts. The result is that a full-fledged medical English and nursing training program which hopefully will impact the country has now been launched in cooperation with the Vietnamese government. Highlights of This Year's Combined Program This year’s program started in Hue (central Vietnam) with the Mauterers at Hue University of Agriculture and Forestry and with Kent and Julia teaching medical English at Hue Medical University. Due to a scheduling misunderstanding, the team arrived just as a three-day national holiday was taking place. However, in both the veterinary and nursing schools the students elected to give up the last day of vacation for a full day of classes.
Drs’ John and Deb, world-class canine orthopedic surgeons, were able to introduce the students and faculty to a number of innovative basic surgery concepts. They clearly communicated a vision of where small animal practice was heading in the next years as the Vietnamese economy continues to burgeon. Some years ago REI-Vietnam under Dr. Paul helped build and equip a small animal clinic at this national-level Institute. Again, the team was met with eager, motivated and alert participants who devoured every bit of information and vigorously took part in the practical laboratories. As in Hue, they begged for more workshops and help with English. A surprise request came from the three faculty members from HAU to spend the team’s last day lecturing in the Animal Sciences Department. The schedule didn’t permit time for that, but the team visited for a couple of hours and Dr. John gave a lecture in Fluid Therapy for canines to a student club. The “We Love Animals” members packed a small room before regular classes. An open invitation followed for an entire seminar next year. At least two special outcomes of this trip emerged as the twelve days progressed. First, there was a clear demonstration of husband-wife teams who sincerely respected and honored each other, deferred to each other and worked well together. The two couples themselves worked together in vibrant relationship. Next year the hope is to merge the two programs into the same audiences to reinforce the value and impact of the training. Another significant result was the growing number of requests from different institutions to expand the training into new audiences and areas of emphasis. We look forward to growing this work over the next years.