Needs Assessment for Biomedical
submitted to the NSF by Professor Vo Van Toi, Biomedical
Professor Vo Van Toi of
Tufts University led a U.S. delegation, sponsored by the National Science
Foundation, to Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), and
Can Tho, Vietnam from January 4, 2004 to January 15,
2004; several Vietnamese biomedical engineering educational and research
institutions were visited. The delegation consisted of seven professors and
other experts in Biomedical Engineering from several American universities and
the National Institutes of Health. The working format consisted of short
presentations at Hanoi University of Technology, HCMC University of Technology,
and Can Tho University from the
In the “Background” section
of this report, the objectives and the significance of the project, profiles of
the U.S delegation, and a review of the infrastructure of the Vietnamese
Biomedical Engineering research and education system are presented. The
“Resources and Activities” section consists of the fact-finding results, and is
based on visits to the laboratories and institutions. This section is divided
into three main parts that correspond to the three areas that were visited:
The descriptions of the
institutions in this report are not exhaustive; nor are the institutions the
only ones in
goal of this report is to pave the way for future collaborations between the
Biomedical Engineering communities of
Biomedical Engineering is a multidisciplinary domain, linking life sciences to disciplines such as engineering, physics and mathematics. It involves the application of state-of-the-art technology in the creation of methodologies and devices for human welfare and for a better understanding of human biological processes. It includes the study of medical instrumentation, biosensors, medical informatics, biomechanics, rehabilitation engineering, regenerative medicine, medical optics, clinical engineering and biotechnology, and requires expertise in different areas of applied and basic sciences.
The objective of the visit to
Interest in Biomedical Engineering activities has
grown considerably in
The proposed visit would be
mutually beneficial for researchers and educators in both countries. Biomedical Engineering has experienced rapid growth in
1. Dudley Childress, Ph.D., Northwestern
3. David Kaplan, Ph.D., Tufts University, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering, Medford, MA. Currently Professor Kaplan is Chairman of the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Director of the Tufts University Bioengineering Center. He has published over 250 papers and edited six books in areas of biopolymer engineering, biomaterials and tissue engineering. He serves on the editorial boards of three journals, is an Associate Editor for Biomacromolecules, and has served on numerous government and university advisory panels and committees. His research program is currently supported by: NSF, NIH, USDA, NASA, DoD and industry.
Murray H. Loew,
Washington University, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering,
Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, Ph.D., Dr. Vunjak-Novakovic
is currently a Principal Research Scientist at Harvard
- MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology,
Van Toi Vo, Ph.D., Tufts University, Department of
John G. Webster, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Biomedical
Engineering Department, Madison, Wisconsin. Professor Webster is a worldwide known educator and
researcher in the Biomedical Engineering field. He is a Fellow of several
professional societies including the Instrument Society of America,
The Assistants to the
- Professor Le Quang Xang, Ph.D., Can Tho University
- Dr. Lu Hung, Ph.D., Consultant
of Research and Education Related to Biomedical Engineering in
The research and education system related to
Biomedical Engineering in
Office of the
Office of the Prime Minister
This diagram shows the governmental organization of the institutions
mentioned in this report. The
Figure 2: The NCST (renamed as
Figure 3: Formally the Ministry of Science,
Technology and the Environment, the current Ministry of Science and Technology
has many institutions under its jurisdiction, including the National Center for
Scientific and Technological Information (Director: Dr. Ta Ba
Hung), which manages the Vietnam Information Network for Science and Technology
Advance (VISTA) Network.
Education and Training
Ministry of Education and Training
Figure 4: Currently
the International Training Institute for Materials Science (ITIMS) is
Faculty of Electronics and
Technology Department Others
Faculty of Electronics and Telecommunications
Electronics Technology Department
Figure 6: Can Tho
University was founded in 1966 and is the largest state university in the
Ministry of Health
Figure 7: Vietnam Medical Equipment Corp (VINAMED) consists of eight companies including the Vietnam Medical Equipment Company (VIMEC) as indicated above. However, according to a government plan in effect since 2000, by 2005 all companies under the VINAMED will be privatized. By 2004 VIMEC will become a joint stock company.
Health Ministry of
Education and Training
Ministry of Health
Ministry of Education and Training
Figure 8: Until
VNU at HCMC VNU at
VNU at HCMC
Figure 9: It should
be noted that the status of
II. Resources and Activities
Meeting dates: January 6 and 7, 2004, at Hanoi University of Technology (HUT).
Vietnamese presentations given by:
- Mr. Duong Van Tinh, Director, Department of Medical Equipment and Construction, Ministry of Health
- Mr. Nguyen Phan Kien, Instructor in Biomedical Electronics Center- HUT
- Laboratory of BME- HUT (Professor Nguyen Duc Thuan),
- Laboratory of Molecular Electronic Dynamics of Materials and Biomedical systems (Professor Nguyen Van Tri),
- International Training Institute for Materials Science (Professor Than Duc Hien and Professor Nguyen Duc Chien)
Hanoi University of Technology (HUT) was established
in 1956 and is located in
The university has 10 Engineering Departments, 4 Institutes and 17 Centers for education and research purposes in a variety of engineering fields, including Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Computer Science, Electronics and Telecommunication, Biological and Food Technology, Mechanical Engineering, Metallurgy and Materials, Textile Engineering, Applied Mathematics, Economics and Managements. There are many engineering laboratories managed by HUT’s departments, Institutes, and Centers. In additions, HUT is also a host of 6 national R&D laboratories specialized in Automation, Polymer and Composite Materials, Environmental Technologies, Petroleum Refineries and Catalyses, Combustion Engines, Metal Materials.
HUT offers undergraduate programs in 89 specialized engineering fields. The graduate department of the university offered degrees of Master of Science and Ph.D. Among more than 1,100 lecturers of HUT, there are 240 professors or associate professors and 600 Ph.D. HUT has an enrollment of more than 17,000 undergraduate students and 1,000 graduate students.
The university has close cooperation relationships
with almost industries in
Established in 1999 by HUT Administration Board and Ministry of Health.
Director: Dr. Nguyen Duc Thuan
Staff: 20 staff members with 3 professors, 3 Ph.D. and 5 M.Sc., including researchers, lecturers, engineers, and collaborators from HUT and other institutions
Facilities: 3 Labs for research and practice
- Lab of Biomedical Signal Measurement
- Lab of Biomedical Signal Processing Circuits
- Lab of Practical Biomedical Equipment
- Manage the undergraduate program in Biomedical Electronics.
- Conduct research and development of electronic technologies and applications in biomedical field.
- Provide consulting service on maintenance, repair, installation, and manufacture of medical equipment.
- Provide training courses in the field of biomedical electronics.
National and international cooperation relations with:
and universities in
biomedical engineering and medical informatics – Technical University of Ilmenau (
universities and companies from
Achievements: The Center is in the process of development and
improvement both in staff and facilities. Since its establishment in late 1999,
first undergraduate program in Biomedical Electronics in
- Completed all lectures and related documents for specialty training and they are also under on-going improvement.
- Educated the first groups of 30 Biomedical engineers. These engineers graduated in 2002 and all of them were offered jobs at hospitals and other medical-related institutions.
- Being technical advisors on maintenance, repair, installation, and manufacture of medical equipment for hospitals.
- Fulfilled a number of technical projects for medical applications of electronic techniques such as:
o Training equipment of electronic techniques (DATS2000, EDTS2000).
o Training equipment for biomedical signal processing, computerize tomography simulator (CT- Simulator).
o Orbital shaking machine for Biology field.
o Equipment for eyes treatments. It is working well at National Eyes Hospital (GAL).
o Muscle treatment equipment (ETE) for rehabitation. It is working well at E Hospital.
3. Vietnamese national policy regarding medical equipment
People – Mr. Duong Van Tinh, Director, Department of Medical Equipment and Construction, Ministry of Health
In October 2002, the Prime Minister ratified the
National Policy on medical equipment in the period of 2002-2010 by decision No.
130/2002/QD-TTg. The National Policy consists of main objectives; solutions for
management, production, trade, utilization and use of medical equipment; as
well as results and development technology and manpower training for medical
equipment area. In addition a Vietnamese Association of Medical Equipment was
created in December 2002 and the First National Conference on Medical Equipment
convened in December 2002 to outline the current status in this field as well
as the directions to be taken. One of the proposals is the formation of
manpower to satisfy the urgent need of the country. In June 2003 a conference
on the study of design and manufacturing of medical equipment met in
4. International Training Institute for Materials Science (ITIMS)
People – Professor Than Duc Hien (Director), Professor Nguyen Duc Chien (Vice Director)
Established in collaboration with the
· Biosensors and electrochemical sensors
· Magnetic materials and applications
· Optoelectronic and photonic materials
· High-Tech superconducting materials
· Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)
· Bio-composite materials
ITIMS offers degree programs–master’s and Ph.D.–in
co-operation with Vietnamese and foreign institutes or universities. Moreover,
the Institute has an impressive number of international collaborations with the
Review of Facilities – The Institute focuses on electronic materials fabrication and characterization. It houses MS and Ph.D. students and hosts international researchers. The Institute has a variety of analytical equipment including a clean room, vapor deposition and sputtering equipment, photolithography, vacuum evaporation, and many of the required electrical, magnetic, computer and associated systems. The Institute staff conducts research, trains the students and helps build the scientific and industry growth in electronics materials. The current areas of study of most relevance to Biomedical Engineering are in biosensors and electrochemical sensors. Various enzyme-based electrodes are being studied. In addition, there are studies on the formation of bio-composites, with a focus on natural fibers to improve mechanical properties of materials. From the limited time and discussion it appears that most of this research is at the early stage and mainly supports the educational mission more than new exploratory research.
of Capabilities in Biomedical Engineering – In general, the analytical facilities seemed reasonable at the basic
level, and could provide support to biomedical engineering if available
resources were mobilized and directed towards the field. The areas that could
be the best fit based on current equipment and capabilities include the surface
modification of materials to control biological interactions, characterization
of new composite materials, development of novel devices based on new
biomaterials, characterization of materials on the nanoscale,
and the production and utilization of novel biomaterials based on biopolymers
derived from agricultural sources in
People - Professor Dang Vu Minh (General Director), Mr. Nguyen Gia Lap (Deputy Director, International Cooperation Department), Mr. Tran Nguyen Minh (Deputy Chef of the NCST’s Cabinet), Dr. Nong Van Hai (Head of the Applied DNA Technology Lab), Dr. Truong Nam Hai (Deputy Director, Head of Genetic Engineering Lab), Dinh Duy Khang (Head of Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology).
Facilities - Founded in 1993, the
Natural Center for Science and Technology (NCST) is a national agency with
affiliated institutes operating in various parts of the country that promotes
the research and development of natural science and technology under the direct
supervision of the Vietnamese Government (Note: Recently it has been renamed as
the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology). The NCST includes 18 research
institutes, 9 sub-institutes, 16 scientific and technological enterprises, and
several supporting units, such as the Institute for Scientific Information, the
Center for Training and Technology Transfer, and the
The main research areas of NCST are information
technology, biotechnology, material science, marine science and technology,
ecology and environment, biological resources and natural active compounds,
electronics, scientific equipment and automation, natural disaster forecast and
mitigation. NCST considers international cooperation important to improve its
knowledge in research and education. Between 1975 and 1990, the Center
established collaborations with the
The main areas of current focus directly relevant to
Biomedical Engineering were in the
Overall, this laboratory was the best one we saw
during our visit to the three universities in
of Capabilities in Biomedical Engineering – As described above, there are a number of strong core competencies,
as well as the required equipment and expertise, at this Institute that can
feed directly or indirectly into biomedical engineering. Specifically, issues
related to genomics can have implications for the impact of selective therapeutic
strategies on the population in comparison to other populations around the
world, the protein characterization tools can be brought to bear on selective
novel protein-based biomaterials from novel organisms in Vietnam, and the
fermentation and microbial capability in both equipment and trained personnel
would provide a suitable start for developing a program strategy in the
production of novel biomaterials and therapeutics based on the flora and fauna
in Vietnam. Maximizing the utilization of these laboratories and making them
available to students and researchers from other institutions would be most helpful, given how limited are the resources for biomedical
engineering work in
People – Dr. Tran Ngoc Liem (Director), Dr. Le Dinh Nguyen (Vice-Director), Mr. Le Huy Tuan (Chief of Medical Electronic Department)
Review of Facilities - Nacenlas was established in 1984 and is part of the National Centre for Technological Progress (Nacentech). Its activities included:
*Biomedical laser design and applications
*Industrial laser applications
*Laser for metrology and protecting environment
The work force in biomedical engineering alone
includes 4 Ph.D., 15 engineers and 4 M.D. The center has developed many
laser-based instruments and placed them in hundreds of hospitals in over the
country and exported them to
The center is in debating whether it must stay in the
research and development of biomedical devices or devote to the manufacturing
“SBIR is a
highly competitive program that encourages small business to explore their
technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its
commercialization. By including qualified small businesses in the nation's
R&D arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated and the
“STTR is an important new small business program that expands funding opportunities in the federal innovation research and development arena. Central to the program is expansion of the public/private sector partnership to include the joint venture opportunities for small business and the nation's premier nonprofit research institutions. STTR's most important role is to foster the innovation necessary to meet the nation's scientific and technological challenges in the 21st century.”
7. Center for Advanced Materials Technology (AMT)
People - Bui Cong Khe, Phan Van An (Director)
Review of Facilities - The AMT was created in 2002 and is also part
of Nacentech. Its missions include applications of
materials technology in the life sciences. It has successfully applied
composite carbon from
8. Biomedical Engineering Physics, HUT
People– Professor Nguyen Van Tri (Director) et al.
Review of Facilities- The physics group presented
studies related to new detoxification methods for chemicals such as dioxins and
characterization of novel materials from
Assessment of Capabilities in Biomedical Engineering – It was difficult to assess the information provided. It appears that there are some empirical efforts underway and some attempts at mechanistic insight such as with the porphyrin-dioxin complexes. However, the overall research effort is at a beginning stage.
Meeting dates: January 9 and 10, 2004, Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology (HCMC -UT).
Vietnamese presentations given by:
- Dr. Nguyen Thanh Son, Vice Rector of HCMC-UT
- Dr. Nguyen The Dung, Director of Health Service in HCMC
- Mr. Dao Van Tuyet, NCST in HCMC
Professor Nguyen Quang Long, Department of Traumatology
- Professor Tran Minh Thai, Faculty of Applied Sciences, HCMC-UT
Tran Dinh Hop, Medical Laser Association in
Dr. Tran Cong Toai, Improving and
- Dr. Nguyen The Dung, Director of HCMC Health Department
- Dr. Truong Hung, Director of VIMEC, HCMC
- Dr. Huynh Quang Linh, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Head of the Biomedical Engineering Department, HCMC-UT
- Department of Informatics, HCMC-UT
- Teaching Laboratory of Biomedical Engineering Department, HCMC-UT
Facility of the
1. Ho Chi Minh City–University of Technology
Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology offers bachelor’s degree programs in 44 different fields, Master’s degrees in 23 fields, and the Ph.D. in 27 fields. In addition, in collaboration with foreign universities joint postgraduate programs are offered in:
· Business Administration (SAV) in collaboration with the Swiss Government
· Master in Business Administration (MBA) in collaboration with the Maastricht School of Management
· Mechanics in Construction and Aeronautics (EMMC) in collaboration with the Liege University, Belgium
· Modeling in Continuum (ASIA IT&C) in collaboration with the European Union
The university also hosts nine Centers and one company, a consulting company in civil engineering.
In 2002–2003, the Ministry of Education and Training and the HCMC National University granted permission to establish degree programs in Biomedical Engineering (BME), namely M.S., Ph.D., engineering, in-service training engineering, distance learning, and specific training (short-term technical training for medical staff in selected BME areas). In that first year, the HCMC-UT enrolled 44 Ph.D. students. Currently, the research areas of the BME programs are the following:
· Biomedical Instrumentation
· Bio-optics properties for living disuse, biocompatible materials, and simulations
· Low power semiconductor Laser acupuncture and optotherapy.
Future areas of research that the University wants to focus on are:
· Medical informatics, such as telemedicine and medical imaging processing
· Biomedical opto-laser application
2. Biomedical-Informatics of NCST in
People - Mr. Dao Van Tuyet, NCST in HCMC
Review of Facilities -
Several projects were presented that pertain to biomedical engineering.
Specifically, a branch of the
Assessment of Capabilities in Biomedical Engineering – The institute has an important role in biomedical
engineering but it is unclear where these activities might fit in relation to
3. Institute of Tropical Biology – Vietnam National Center for Natural Science and Technology, Ho Chi Minh City
People - Dr. Nguyen Thi Quynh (Deputy Director) et al.
Review of Facilities -
Since 1996, the Institute of Tropical Biology (ITB) has been a training unit of
the Ministry of Education and Training. The goal of ITB is to promote
scientific research in biotechnology, plant physiology and biochemistry,
bio-organic chemistry, microbiology, ecology and bio-resources for
socio-economic development of
Current projects include:
· transformation of Vietnamese key agricultural crops using Agrobacterium vectors
· micropropagation in vitro of agriculturally important crops
· enzyme approaches for conversion of cassava starch to high fructose corn syrup
· fermentation to generate pesticides
· culture methods for production of insect cells for viral propagation
· disease detection in shrimp, and
· wastewater treatment from pig farms.
The equipment available for research is scarce, old and inadequate. The laboratory has recently been awarded Key Laboratory status and is therefore expecting a 3 million investment of government funds to upgrade equipment and hire new researchers.
Assessment of Capabilities in Biomedical Engineering – None of the current activities at the Institute is focused on biomedical engineering and the status of equipment is rather poor (to be in part improved with the new Key Laboratory status). Some of the analytical skill areas that are being developed could have impact down the road, however, with the main focus on more immediate agricultural needs it is not clear what role if any this Institute could play in the biomedical engineering field. However, should future directions call for the production of pharmaceutical (e.g., low cost vaccines) and transgenic plants such as banana, then the Institute’s role could quickly expand. In addition, with their direct links to field stations, they can also be a valuable source for collection of novel insects and plants for ‘bio-mining’ relevant to new biomaterials.
4. Vietnam Medical Equipment Company (VIMEC),
People - Mr. Truong Hung, President
Review of Facilities -
VIMEC is the Ministry of Health’s importer, and was founded in 1976. The company
supplies chemicals, medical instruments, and equipment; also it provides
after-sale service (maintenance, calibration, repair)
to governmental health care services and private industry, and to the food and
fishing industries. Most of the equipment is imported from
VIMEC conducts training courses and seminars (often in collaboration with equipment manufacturers) for technicians from the provincial hospitals. The company employs 170 people, of whom 40 are electrical and electronics engineers. The company has invested more than $110,000 in test equipment for calibration and safety assurance. The company also provides translation of user and technical manuals from English (or other languages) into Vietnamese, and in some cases adjunct labeling of equipment in Vietnamese. Mr. Truong noted that there are no funds for training of staff in the provinces. He observed that this is aggravating the consequences of the lack of standardization: of equipment use, misuse of equipment (leading to its failure), and in some cases, disuse and abandonment of new and complicated equipment. According to a recent survey, of the 2000 X-ray devices in use only 12% has safety permits.
Assessment of Capabilities in Biomedical Engineering - There is a clear need for regular and extensive training in medical instrumentation and biomedical technology, for two groups of people: the engineers and technicians who specify, install, and maintain the equipment; and the medical staff (nurses, pharmacists, and physicians) who use it. Also, there is a need for assistance to hospital administrators who recommend and purchase equipment. They need informed advice about the suitability to their needs of various kinds of equipment.
Dr. Nguyen The Dung, director of the HCMC Health Department, in a related presentation, noted that he is willing to invest in seed projects that will lead to self-sustaining operations. He is interested in collaborations among universities and hospitals.
People– Professor Nguyen Quang Long
Review of Facilities - The current focus in terms of biomaterials for orthopedic repair is on carbon composites consisting of carbon fibers and polyamine matrices. The materials have been under study since 1992, mainly to stabilize long bone fractures and for cranial repair. The carbon-based materials were selected due to availability, their light weight and low cost.
of Capabilities in Biomedical Engineering – The capabilities with producing biomaterials and assessing their
properties in vitro and in vivo seem to be at the rudimentary level. There will
be a need to gain further training and experience with additional materials,
techniques (materials-related and biologically-related) to advance the field
further here in
People– Professor Tran Minh Thai (Chair of Applied Physics faculty) and Mr. Tran Dinh Hop
Review of Facilities - Two talks focused on laser acupuncture. The first, by Prof. Dr. Tran Minh Thai, entitled 'Application of low power infrared laser in acupuncture' was accompanied by a 13 page paper in the proceedings. The second, by Tran Dinh Hop, entitled 'Method of cessation of withdrawal symptoms in drug addiction detoxification by using low-power semiconductor lasers' was provided as a 2-page supplemental handout.
Equipment was on display in the lecture hall that had
been built at HCMC University of Technology specifications were not available.
Photos were taken of equipment, and one poster (in Vietnamese) on hemiplegia was available. Two visits to lasers in
acupuncture service delivery centers were planned, only one of which occurred,
to the Trung Tam Y Hoc Co Truyen
Traditional acupuncture involves placement of needles
at acupuncture points to achieve therapeutic outcomes. Because of the concern
over transmission of HIV/Aids using needles, lasers in acupuncture has been
proposed as a potential alternative. The use of Lasers in acupuncture is
hypothesized to deliver an effect comparable to needles at the acupuncture
sites without penetrating the skin. This appears to be one area of biomedical
engineering in which
HCMC University of Technology also sponsored two national meetings that had technical content related to laser acupuncture. Copies of these proceedings were provided to members of the delegation. One meeting in 1998 had sections on equipment, fundamental research, and clinical research. The proceedings of the 8th Conference on Science and Technology (25-26 April 2002) had a subsection devoted to laser acupuncture.
Relevance to Biomedical Engineering - The
"Acupuncture as a therapeutic intervention is widely
practiced in the
This appears to be one area of biomedical engineering
People: Tran Cong Toai, (MD, Ph.D.)
Facilities – This laboratory was
established in 1993 and is pursuing quality standards for cells and tissues in
the country. Quality control, sterilization procedures, genetics, biodegradable
synthetic polymers, and tissue and cell culture are some of the focal areas at
the Center. We did not visit the facility, however, according to the presentation, there is capability for collection and
assessment of donor tissues, tissue allografts
including bone, cartilage, dura matter, pericardium,
and amniotic membrane with the associated storage capabilities. Coral (xenograft) is also be used to form composite materials for
surgical applications due to the current lack of sufficient types of bone for
different surgical needs. Quality standards have been established as have
sterilization requirements (gamma irradiation). Active interactions with
of Capabilities in Biomedical Engineering – This activity can play a major role in the growth of biomedical
engineering in the country. A central facility with appropriate tissue matrices
(autografts, allografts, xenografts) and most importantly the critical quality
control standards and ethical guidelines in place, can greatly facilitate
availability of materials for research and clinical programs throughout the
country as well as the appropriate training. This facility can serve as a
coordination point for promulgation of guidelines for the country by
interactions with other countries and placing the information gained in the
Meeting dates: January 12 and 13, 2004 at Can Tho University
Vietnamese presentations given by:
Le Ngoc Cua and Huynh Thanh Liem, Can Tho
- Nguyen Huu Hiep, Biotechnology Research and Development Institute, Can Tho University
Huynh Quyet Thang, Oncology Department,
- Tran Van Nha, Mechanical Engineering Department, Can Tho University
- Different departments of Can Tho General Hospital
Facilities of Can
- Biotechnology institute
- Mechanical Engineering machine shops
1. Can Tho University
Founded in 1966, Can Tho University (CTU) is the largest state university in the Mekong Delta. CTU promotes research and applications to serve the needs, mainly agricultural, of the surrounding community. CTU works closely with provincial authorities, private and public enterprises, and the farming community to transfer technology. The university is known for its outreach programs and satellite colleges serving communities throughout the Delta region.
CTU offers training within 43 B.S., 10 M.S., and 4
Ph.D. degree programs. In 2002, the CTU enrolled more than 17,000 full-time
students at its campus in Can Tho, and more than
16,000 students in its satellite colleges in Mekong Delta provinces. CTU
includes three Centers – the Science and
CTU has established and maintained collaborative
relationships with universities, institutes, governmental, and non-governmental
2. Can Tho
People: Dr. Huynh Quyet Thang et al.
Review of Facilities - This was the first and only hospital visited by the delegation. Therefore, the observations may not be generalized.
This was a general hospital of about 100 beds. Their services included ICU, cardiology, traumatology, oncology, labor & delivery, orthopedics, nursing, and PT (possibly others that were not mentioned). The director of the hospital did not appear to be fully informed as to what biomedical engineering was or how it could contribute to the function of the hospital. No biomedical engineers were employed in the hospital. The hospital does some training of young physicians, but does not appear to be affiliated with a university.
In response to a question about medical equipment in
the hospital, the response was that there was an across the board lack of
medical equipment. In response to a question about how additional funding to
the hospital would be prioritized, the response was: building renovation,
prevention programs, and medical imaging equipment. Our visits confirmed the
first and third priority. We visited their medical imaging department. They had
a single plane film x-ray machine that was very old (GE France) and a newer CT
(Shimadzu Intellect). The CT had a sticker indicating the machine was serviced
Relevance to Biomedical Engineering -
3. Can Tho University Biotechnology Institute
People - Professor Tran Phuoc Duong (former director) et al.
Facilities - This Institute is
one of three special institutes at the University. There are 17 staff members
of whom two are Ph.D.s, one of whom is the former director who was trained in
· traditional fermentation and the improvement of the quality of local products
· molecular biology with a focus on the use of PCR to develop new test kits and assessments of pathogens relevant to local agricultural needs.
There is an effort to develop PCR based test kits for
shrimp viruses (white spot disease) and for fruit tree pathogens. The Director
was direct and emphasized the difficulties in research and funding in
· a biotechnology leader to facilitate governmental support, unlike the prior leader who is now in jail and ran a non-scientifically based funding approach to the needs in the field
· new strains of plants and animals of agricultural relevance to the country and the region, and methods to assess quality control based on molecular biology
biodiversity of plants and animals in
· medicines for local diseases,
· automation of health care.
Assessment of Capabilities in Biomedical Engineering - While there is not a current emphasis on biomedical engineering, the molecular biology capabilities of the group seem strong and would provide a useful component to a biomedical engineering program at the university.
4. Mechanical Engineering
People - Professor Tran Van Nha, Professor Duong Thai Cong (Chairman)
Review of Facilities - Professor Tran presented statistics on the number and
severity of head injuries in
In a related activity, we were shown the university's extensive teaching machine shop (containing industrial lathes, milling machines, and other metal-working equipment) and its teaching laboratory, with small-scale computerized numerical control equipment.
of Capabilities in Biomedical Engineering - There clearly is a need for rapid and inexpensive production of
III. Biomedical Engineering Curriculum
Biomedical engineering education as currently offered
in Universities of Technology in
At the Ministry of Health, Duong Van Tinh, M. Sc., is Director, Department of Medical Equipment and Construction. They give high priority for training of biomedical engineers in the 5-year training program at Hanoi University of Technology.
At the Hanoi University of Technology, Professor
Nguyen Duc Thuan, Ph.D.,
In June 2002, the first class of 30 students of
Biomedical Electronics graduated and is now working in medical companies in
Graduates from the
1 student is
enrolled in a M.S. course in the field of BME in
29 students are
working in medical companies and hospitals in
- 6 students are studying M.S. in Electronics and Communications (HUT does not have an M.S. degree in BME)
Some titles of graduation theses:
Multislice CT Scanner (Theory and Device)
Patient Monitoring Systems
Linear Accelerator in Medicine
Test Device Systems in Medicine
Ventilators(Theory and Device)
Ultrasound (Theory and Device)
Angiography (Theory and Device)
Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (Theory and Device)
Kidney Machine (Theory and Device)
Automatic Hematology Analysis Device
Automatic Biochemical Analysis Device
Health Level 7
Design temperature measurement and control circuit on newborn baby chamber
Electrocardiograph evaluation and design
Electrical Treatment Device Design
At the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, Dr. Huynh Quang Linh is Head of the Biomedical Engineering Department. Training of students began in 2002-2003 with focus on biomedical instrumentation, biooptics, and opto-acupuncture. They plan to add medical informatics, laser application and nano-biomedicine. The lab contains an electrocardiographic monitor, an ECG simulator, and test equipment for calibration tests. 52 courses are listed in the curriculum and 40 of these plus 2 optional courses are required for the degree.
Truong Hung is the director of the Vietnam Medical
Equipment Company (VIMEC). He recommends that by 2005 the equipment and test
equipment should be standardized: ECG, blood pressure, SpO2, pH,
wavelength, ultrasound (energy, sample), energy (defibrillation), X-ray
(standard kVp, mAs,
sample), flow, volume (syringe pump, infusion), traction force (spinal column
traction). He recommends computerization to acquire information and to program
future applications. He recommends the manufacture of simple instruments such
as rehabilitation instruments and equipment. From 2005 on he recommends the
manufacture of medical instruments for
At the Can Tho University College of Technology no education in biomedical engineering is offered at present.
Engineering activities in research, education, and industry have been steadily
The policy makers
in the central government, as well as in the local governments, are aware of
the important potential contributions of Biomedical Engineering in the
development of the country. The Vietnamese Prime Minister ratified the national
policy on medical equipment for the period of 2002-2010 and one of the proposed
directions was the creation of manpower to satisfy the needs of the country. In
HCMC, Dr. Nguyen The Dung, director of the HCMC Health
Department openly requested that the
Biomedical Instrumentation is the core theme at Hanoi University of Technology
and at HCMC University of Technology. In these institutions there are formal
biomedical engineering undergraduate degrees but no graduate degrees. The
biomedical engineering activities at Hanoi University of Technology are
strengthened by the contribution of the Faculty of Electronics and
Telecommunication. At HCMC University of Technology, the Faculty of Applied
Physics strengthens biomedical engineering activities; and at Can Tho
University the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering strengthens them. In 2002, the
In research, some
Vietnamese scientists are on the cutting edge in their specialized fields, and
some laboratories are as well equipped as any advanced research laboratories in
privatization of the medical device industry, current companies will have the
freedom to expand their activities and import devices. New companies will be
international symposium: It is
recommended that an international symposium on Biomedical Engineering be
organized in the near future (by January 2005). The goal of the symposium is to
give Vietnamese educators, researchers, administrators and policy makers the
opportunity to present their accomplishments, and learn about research and
academic models in the
international communities: It is
an equitable collaboration with an American institution it is recommended that
In the rapidly
growing area of biomedical engineering, access to scientific and technical
information is clearly the most important requirement for the envisioned
development of research activities, and undergraduate and graduate education.
Access to books and journals is limited in
Set priorities: The Vietnamese government has put forth the
Biomedical Instrumentation field as a first priority. This
In the long term, to take advantage of the important investments already made in biotechnology laboratories, it is recommended that cutting-edge research and applied research that lead to commercially viable products in biomaterials, tissue engineering, genomics and proteomics be developed. Also it is important to encourage laboratories that are well equipped in traditional engineering to extend their focus in biomedical engineering.
necessary to recognize the importance of research in the whole picture.
Research programs should be created along with the development of curricula and
the establishment of various training mechanisms at different levels. In the
beginning, specific focus areas should be identified where
Train the trainers: In order to develop its work force, it is
For the medium
and long terms it is recommended that
programs for students and faculty to different universities in the
- Develop strong local university-hospital-industry connection: The progress of biomedical engineering activities in universities, hospitals, and in industry depends heavily on the collaboration of all three entities. Each entity can take a turn in leading. In one example, the hospital assesses needs, the university provides solutions, and industry provides support. In another scheme, the university provides the innovative ideas, the hospital provides a testing environment, and industry commercializes new products. In the third example the industry projects their needs, the hospital provides the solution and the university provides the realization.
The establishment of the curricula in the university must reflect the feedback from the hospitals and industry. It is recommended that the university establish a board of advisors, which include people from industry and hospitals to constantly update its curriculum.
It is also recommended that strong connections be formed between a university of technology and a university of dental medicine or a medical school. The curricula in one university must contain aspects of the other university to facilitate the collaboration among students. For example, a physiology course in engineering curricula, and an engineering/technology course in medical curricula.
It is recommended that industry provides instruments for teaching and establishes internship programs. A Biomedical Engineering High Tech Park, which regroups companies in the field, should be established near the universities of technology to stimulate the university-industry relationship and student entrepreneurial skills. Students in biomedical engineering programs should be offered the opportunity to work for at least one summer in an instrumentation company, a hospital, or another related activity. The experience will contribute to their understanding of the requirements and constraints of medical equipment design and implementation.
- Enhance undergraduate curricula and establish graduate/post doctoral/continued education curricula: Undergraduate curricula in biomedical engineering should be brought up to date so that graduates can fill employment needs in private companies and hospitals. These needs include theory and technical skills for the selection, proper use and maintenance of medical devices such as ECG, blood pressure, SpO2, pH, wavelength, ultrasound (energy, sample), energy (defibrillation), X-ray (standard kVp, mAs, sample), flow, volume (syringe pump, infusion), traction force (spinal column traction). With time, the needs are likely to extend to more complex devices and applications.
Graduate curricula in
biomedical engineering are practically nonexistent and need to be established.
The Ph.D. level training of instructors, who will educate and train students at
an advanced level, is the first step. For example, students who have graduated
from the Faculty of Electronics and Telecommunication, and commit to teaching
bioinstrumentation, should be funded to earn a Ph.D. in a university that has a
graduate program emphasizing medical devices. After the establishment of
bioinstrumentation, students should be selected from mechanical engineering to
train in biomechanics, and chemical engineering to
train in biomaterials. Different universities in
fellowships for Ph.D. level scientists from
- Develop regional characteristics: As each region has its own needs and characteristics it is recommended that each develop its own specialty. The final selection of the focal areas of investigation further depends upon availability of local resources and relationships (e.g. hospitals, interested physicians and health professionals, related research institutes, nearby biomedical engineering enterprises, etc.). Decisions also depend strongly upon the interests and abilities of departmental faculty and research staff. Areas of activity that hold high probability of receiving external and/or internal funding are also useful to the overall research enterprise.
concrete collaborations: Based on the
insights gained during its visit to Vietnam, this U.S. delegation foresees the
potential for establishing substantial collaborations between selected U.S.
universities and three universities in Vietnam: Hanoi University of Technology,
Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology and Can Tho University, and
recommends concrete steps to be taken to help Vietnam improve its biomedical
engineering training, education and research infrastructure. The joint effort
in biomedical engineering education and research would benefit the growth of
this important high technology field in
In order to
develop formal plans for collaboration in the general area of biomedical
engineering education and research between the
following is a proposed five-year Implementation Plan for biomedical
engineering collaborations between the
Short Term (1 year)
· One week intensive workshop, held in Vietnam on Biomedical Engineering – covering both educational programs and research programs, held in one location and invite all faculty from key schools to attend – should leave with workbooks (we prepare), textbooks (hopefully donated by companies), contacts, and implementation plans (see mid term below)
graduate education in the
Sign MOUs between
Mid-Term (2 to 3 years)
Host groups of
faculty from key schools to spend a semester and a summer at Tufts or other
locations – to participate in the core courses and interact with students – to
learn the process, to gather course materials, and to get to know
graduate education in the
· Formalize virtual Department arrangement
· Establish consortium of American and Vietnamese universities
· Establish a committee to edit a Vietnamese-English dictionary in Biomedical Engineering
Long-Term (3 to 5 years)
· Continue faculty exchanges
· Host joint workshops
student education in the
research programs between
Mr. Kien Pham,
Executive Director of the
Dr. Marie Haring
Sweeney, Health Attaché and Mr. Gary Sigmon, First Secretary of Science, Technology
and Environment on Jan 5th, 2004. Both are from the U.S Embassy in
Van Phong, Minister of Science and Technology of
Professor Phan Thi Tuoi,
Mr. Robert Barnnerman, Principal Commercial Officer; Mr. Robert Ogburn, Press and Cultural Attaché Education Programs; Mr.
Le Hoang Anh, Commercial Specialist; and Mr. Tran
Thai Binh, Educational Advisor, all are with the
Consulate General of the U.S. in HCMC, on Jan 14th, 2004. Professor Vo Van Toi gave a debriefing of the mission and the
accomplishments of delegation during its visit in
From the visit, the PI has
established a database of the
Professor Vo Van Toi
Biomedical Engineering Department
Tel: (617) 627 5191
Fax: (617) 627 3231
This project was sponsored by the National Science Foundation (INT-0243803 to VVT). We would like to express our thanks to the Vietnamese and American authorities, Hanoi University of Technology, Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, Can Tho University, and all other institutions and people mentioned in this report for their hospitalities and assistance that made our visit very fruitful and pleasant.