A visit from the heads of Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine (PNTU) has further strengthened ties between the Vietnamese university and the University of Newcastle.
A three-year Memorandum of Understanding was signed by both Universities in February 2012 to facilitate and promote cooperation between the two Universities as well as investigate opportunities for collaboration in speech-language therapy training, postgraduate research and course work programs, exchange of students and staff, joint seminars, publications and supervision.
Newcastle’s Head of Speech Pathology, Dr Sally Hewat, has spent time at PNTU since signing the agreement; however this is the first opportunity that PNTU representatives have had to visit Australia.
The Vietnamese equivalent of Vice Chancellor, Rector Prof. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Dung and Vice Rector Dr Pham Dang Dieu will discuss current collaborations and explore new opportunities while visiting Newcastle.
Dr Hewat said both universities have benefited from the international relationship.
“Working closely with the Trinh Foundation Australia, the University of Newcastle has supported the development of the first speech therapy course in Vietnam through PNTU and has collaborated in some clinical research with graduates of the program,” Dr Hewat said.
“It has also been great for our speech pathology staff and students who have travelled to Vietnam for clinical placements, teaching, research and development, giving our students an internationalised curriculum and staff the opportunity for unique research and professional development.”
The first cohort of Vietnamese speech therapy students graduated in September 2012 with some now involved in collaborative teaching and research projects with leading academics from Australia.
Many of these graduates have also established speech therapy departments in public hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City, and will provide clinical placements (work integrated learning opportunities) for the current student group at PNTU and for some University of Newcastle students.
“We’re happy to be part of a program that has increased community awareness of speech therapy and communication disorders and will deliver long term personal and health benefits for the Vietnamese community,” Dr Hewat said.