Supporting Capacity Building and Research in Vietnam
Population Council staff are mobilizing and enhancing postgraduate public health research capacity in Vietnam.
From the late 1990s to 2005, the Population Council coordinated two overseas fellowship programs supported by the Susan Thompson Buffet Foundation and the Ford Foundation. Vietnamese health professionals were supported in pursuing master’s degrees in public health and health sciences in US organizations and then returned to Vietnam. Since the completion of these two fellowship programs, there has been greater focus on the ways in which continued professional development can take place in Vietnam.
The Health Research for Development Initiative (HRDI) was developed by the Population Council in Vietnam alongside partners at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Medicine and Pharmacy and the Hanoi School of Public Health, with activities supported by the Buffet Foundation.
HRDI seeks to mobilize and enhance postgraduate research capacity on a substantial scale. The overarching goals for HRDI are to assist returned fellows in using their acquired knowledge and skills to the maximum; channel returned fellows' skills toward research, evaluation, and teaching in a way that makes a clear contribution to the health and development priorities of Vietnam; and involve returned fellows' supervisors in order to increase their interest and skills in using data and research.
Findings from an evaluation of HRDI show that returned fellows with master's degrees demonstrated not only shared understanding of HRDI's overarching goals but also a willingness to sustain these intentions after returning from their fellowships. HRDI participants reported increased capacity in quantitative evaluation skills, slightly increased participation in research activities, and an overarching increase in interest in research methods and studies.
Yet, as some health professionals continue to face challenges while attempting to incorporate research into their professional careers, particularly those working within the provincial and clinical settings, the HRDI strategy has adjusted into a new format. With targeted peer-to-peer technical assistance and support as well as greater ownership of the HRDI activities among returned fellows, the HRDI program is demonstrating even greater influence on the amount and quality of research being conducted within Vietnam's health sector.
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Strengthening health systems
Duration: 2/2002 - 3/2011
Hanoi Health Department
Ministry of Health, Vietnam
Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation