Chat Van Dang
A UNIQUE MEDICAL EDUCATION
(Excerpt from The Mayflowers of 1975 book)
         Our class was the first to enter a brand new medical school built by the US Government for the people of Vietnam. Saigon Medical School in 1966 looked very much like the Stanford School of Medicine main building in 2005, at the time of this writing. We could purchase the latest American medical textbooks at a steep discount, and for the first time, we were able to experience a cafeteria-style menu, which was both inexpensive and quite upscale at the time for us. Even though I had been at affluent European campuses in Brussels and Paris, I felt a delighted excitement on the first day as I glided my tray along the line to get served by hostesses in fresh uniforms, a rare sight in our poor country.
         Our medical education was unique because our class was in the middle of major changes. All our Full Agrégé Professors were educated in the French system and lectured in French. The younger faculty who had been trained in the US taught basic sciences in Vietnamese mixed with English and French terminologies. The third group of teachers included volunteer or contracted American faculty from the US Armed Forces, private sector and academic institutions. Only recently, as I researched the full name of some of my teachers did I realize that the American Medical Association, under contract with USAID, was practically adopting the Saigon Faculty of Medicine following a strategic plan by Lawrence A. Pratt, MD. A report on the AMA Vietnam Medical Education Project was published by C. H. William Ruhe, MD, Norman W. Hoover, MD and Ira Singer, PhD in 1988.


Saigon Medical School, 2005

Stanford Medical School, 2005
        Please read the rest of the story in REMEMBERING SAIGON.
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