Home > IMPACT MED Alliance > News/Activities > Academic Leadership Development: Leading Change in Health Professional Education in Vietnam




Strong and effective leadership is crucial to achieving a successful and sustainable reform in the medical education system in Vietnam. Effective leaders must be champions of innovation, build a culture that values diversity and inclusion, empower their staff to make change, anticipate and manage resistance, maintain strategic focus, and encourage systems thinking and collaboration across many disciplines.  The IMPACT MED Alliance, in collaboration with University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Ho Chi Minh City (HUMP) and Novartis Pharma Services, developed a leadership training program to train a cadre of medical educators to champion medical innovation and reform at their respective institutions in Vietnam. The 9-month course includes 3 in-person workshops as well as online sessions in which trainers provide ongoing coaching and technical assistance.

The course covered five important domains in health university leadership: (1) Overview of different models of higher health education systems; (2) Organizational Management; (3) Change Management; (4) Project Management; and (5) Leadership Development. Participants had the opportunity to discuss the challenges and opportunities that they currently face in their universities. By the completion of the course, participants gained an understanding of the role of leadership in reform process, and gained skills in conflict management, building trust and collaboration, ensuring transparency and diversify, and overcoming barriers to change,

The training course was developed and facilitated by medical experts from Harvard Medical School including Dr. David Duong, Dr. Todd Pollack, Ass. Prof. Jo Shapiro, Ass. Prof. Erik Alexander, Ass. Prof. David Robert; Ass. Prof. Tran Diep Tuan, President of HUMP; Prof. Chang Sing Lau, President of Hong Kong Academy of Medicine, andRoeland Roelofs, Vietnam Country Manager, Novartis Pharma.

Session I: July 1st – 2nd, 2018 – HUMP

Session 1 focused on helping the participants to understand and reflect on their individual leadership styles, including strengths and opportunities for growth. Participants also learned about models of university governance in the world, best practices in change management, and had the opportunity to hear real-world examples of leading change in medical universities.  At the conclusion, participants created personal action plans to help them implement their vision for change at their institutions.

Session 2: October 26th - 27th, 2018

This session focused on creating effective coalitions, managing conflict and developing relationships with other course participants and faculty for mentorship and community. In addition, five participants were nominated to present their personnel action plans (PAPs) and received direct feedbacks, comments and advice from all the faculty and participants. After the course, the participants continued to work to turn their plans into action with continuous support from their mentors and peers.


Session 3: January 15th – 16th, 2019


The final session was held on January 15 and 16th in Dalat, Vietnam and focused on the principles of transparent, inclusive, enabling and empowering leadership as well as how to sustain changes. The participants shared their difficulties and challenges when applying their lessons learned and received advice from the faculty and peers. The final part of the session was for reflection, in which all participants shared the knowledge and skills they gained from the course and how they applied their new skills to their change projects over the past nine months as well as how they can sustain a community of practice moving forward.


Going forward, the course will be organized annually by the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in HCMC and an alumni network will be created and maintained.