Establishment of New Regional Center of Engagement with Vingroup in Vietnam

July 11, 2018

To:PSOM Faculty, Students and Staff

From:J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD
Executive Vice President, University of Pennsylvania for the Health System
Dean, Perelman School of Medicine

Glen Gaulton, PhD
Vice Dean and Director, Center for Global Health

We write to share the exciting news that Penn this week entered into a formal alliance with the Vingroup to improve health care and to create new undergraduate and graduate medical training programs in Vietnam.  The alliance is positioned to extend our global reach through the creation of a new Center of Regional Engagement in Southeast Asia.

Under the leadership of the Center for Global Health (CGH), our global initiatives program currently operates Centers of Engagement in Africa (based in Botswana) and Latin America (based in Guatemala). The new Center of Engagement in Southeast Asia (based in Vietnam) will focus initially on the establishment of medical and nursing schools within a newly formed private, nonprofit university (VinUni) and enhancement of graduate medical education and health care provision within Vietnam’s largest private nonprofit health system (Vinmec).  Both VinUni and Vinmec are components of the Vingroup, Vietnam’s largest private company, a business that shares Penn Medicine’s commitment to community service through the transformation of health care.

Under the framework of the agreement, Penn Medicine will work with VinUni to guide creation of the schools of Medicine and Nursing, while Cornell University will work in parallel with VinUni to build the schools of Business, and Engineering and Technology.  More specifically, Penn will work collaboratively with VinUni to develop the undergraduate curriculum and aligned faculty and institutional support structures to establish high caliber programs in nursing and medicine.  As the clinical training environment provides an essential component of this endeavor, Penn will also support the Vinmec Health Care System to enhance the quality of care and of clinical training, initially at the International Hospital in Times City, Hanoi, and ultimately to build a new VinUni/Vinmec teaching hospital in Hanoi.  In time, these efforts will encompass creation of medical residency training programs and of a robust clinical research portfolio focused on translational medicine.

Glen Gaulton, PhD, Director of the Center for Global Health, led development of the Vingroup Alliance and will serve as Project Director for the initiative. Four working groups led by Gail Morrison, MD (Medical Education), Lee Fleisher, MD (Residency and Quality Care), Jill Sochalski, FAAN, RN, PhD (Nursing Education), and Dr. Gaulton (Research) have been formed to support the project and advance its goals.  A project of this magnitude will hold exciting opportunities for Penn trainees and faculty to expand their global engagement, including on-site rotations.   Dr. Gaulton will be conducting town hall meetings targeted for each group to describe the project in greater detail and explain opportunities for engagement. 

Vietnam, a country of ~96 million people, has large disparities in both the access and provision of health care, and has great opportunities to implement preventative medicine as a paradigm. This initiative is a direct outgrowth of the CGH strategy of establishing Regional Centers of Engagement to remediate disparities in health equity worldwide via bi-directional partnerships. We expect the Center of Engagement in Southeast Asia to set a national and regional model of health profession training and excellence in care. It represents a unique opportunity for Penn Medicine to innovate in medical education and will provide faculty and trainees opportunities to engage in studies to improve the health of the Vietnamese people. The project also unites medicine and nursing, and in time other schools at Penn, in the common goal of expanding Penn’s global impact and creating a healthy world.

We look forward to working with the entire Penn community in moving this initiative forward.  Please contact Dr. Gaulton at with any questions and/or to express interest in this exciting new endeavor.