Announcement: Healthcare Education and Training Program by Colorectal Team Overseas (CTO) in Vietnam


One of IPSAC's main strategies to help Vietnam is through meaningful, effective, and long-term collaborative efforts.


Besides IPSAC's annual medical service trip where our members directly work with Vietnamese hospitals to educate, train, and build capacity, we always look to introduce Vietnamese hospitals to other organizations who share the same visions and goals as us for healthcare in Vietnam.


The Colorectal Team Overseas (CTO) is a non-profit healthcare organization, specializing in Pediatric Congenital Colorectal Anomalies surgical care. CTO strives to bring their specialty healthcare education and training to physicians, surgeons, nurses all over the world, especially in areas that are in desperate need of such care.


You can find out more about Colorectal Team Overseas (CTO) through their website at: https://www.ctoverseas.org/


This year, IPSAC is pleased to sponsor Colorectal Team Overseas (CTO) to Danang Women and Children Hospital in Danang, Vietnam for one week of Healthcare Education and Training Program, Monday, 25 February 2019 - Friday, 01 March 2019.


This is CTO's first outreach program in Vietnam. CTO team will share their knowledge, skills and experience in the management of Pediatric Congenital Anorectal Malformations to Vietnamese colleagues from many major hospitals in Vietnam.


Announcement: Upcoming 2019 IPSAC Medical Service Trip

April 2019, Vietnam


Work dates: Monday, 8 April 2019 - Friday, 12 April 2019

Recommended Arrival in Vietnam by: Saturday, 6 April 2019

General Information:

IPSAC will continue to collaborate with our partners in Vietnam to enhance current program in clinical, educational and research development through work force enhancing activities.

The clinical team and IPSAC volunteers for the upcoming 2019 IPSAC Medical Service Trip will conduct the activities at four hospital sites. The sites and IPSAC work focus are:

  1. Children's Hospital #1 - Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: Advanced pediatric surgical techniques and patient management
  2. City Children's Hospital - Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: Quality Improvement projects, work force enhancing capacity in Pediatric Surgery, Pediatric Anesthesia, Pediatric Urology, Pediatric Neurosurgery and Pediatric Surgical Nursing
  3. Danang Women and Children's Hospital - Danang, Vietnam: Upskilling in Pediatric Urology, Pediatric Minimally Invasive Surgery, Pediatric Anesthesia, training curriculum in Neonatal Surgery
  4. Can Tho Children's Hospital - Can Tho, Vietnam - Upskilling for Pediatric Surgery, capacity building in Pediatric Surgical Nursing and Anesthesia

Additionally, we are also considering Quang Ngai Women and Children's Hospital - Quang Ngai, Vietnam as a potential site, collaborating with the hospital for Capacity building in Pediatric Surgery, Pediatric Surgical Nursing and Anesthesia.


Please contact contact@ipsacvietnam.org for further details.


IPSAC Service Trip #13 - March 2018


At the request of our VN clinical partners, IPSAC returned for continued clinical program development at 3 of its previously established pediatric sites (the Children's Hospital 1 (CH1) in HCMC, the Can Tho Children's Hospital (CTCH), and the Danang Women and Children's Hospital (DWCH)). IPSAC also made its first official clinical exchange at City Children's Hospital (CCH) in HCMC. After a briefing lunch meeting to introduce the volunteers and team leaders, logistics guidance, and to share IPSAC cultural pearls with the participants, the CTCH and DWCH teams travelled to their respective locations.


The CH1 team was led by Dr. Mike Chen, providing pediatric surgery and urology services.

Dr. Mark Holterman led the CTCH team for pediatric surgery and pediatric anesthesia services.

Dr. David Lashley led the DWCH team for pediatric surgery, pediatric urology, pediatric anesthesia and pediatric neurosurgery support. IPSAC and the Mayo Clinical delegates participated in a joint 2-day symposium on child health. IPSAC and DWCH leaders discussed a 2019 multidisciplinary colorectal course on patient care program for anorectal malformations, to be led by a large team from Nationwide Children's Hospital.


At the new 1,028-beds modern City Children's Hospital (CCH) in HCMC, Dr. Marilyn Butler and AiXuan Holterman made IPSAC final need assessment, discussed areas in program development of joint interest for a future CCH-IPSAC MOU. Our collaboration will include a sustainable program for pediatric general surgery and urology workforce capacity building, a train the trainers program in essential emergency pediatric surgical patient care for front line health professionals from low resources health facilities, and implementation of a pilot project for CCH patient care quality improvement and safety.


The common threads for our visit at each of the sites are hospital and team briefing, complex congenital malformations surgical and anesthetic activities by the joint VN-IPSAC team with preoperative patient evaluation, lectures, patient care management challenges, postoperative ward rounds, end-of-vist debriefing and teams farewell dinners.


IPSAC service trip #12- MARCH 2017


IPSAC has 5 main teams and supported 2 additional groups. They began to travel to their respective locations after a briefing lunch meeting.



1. Kon Tum General Hospital in the highlands: The team of pediatric surgery (led by Dr. Browne), pediatric anesthesia (Dr. Nguyen Tan Phuoc), pediatric surgical nursing (led by Nancy Browne), rehabilitation specialists and volunteers returned to conclude its 3-years MOU. The team spent a lot of time on didactic, bedside (ICU, ward) and OR teaching.  The team delivered tools and supplies requested from last year by the hospital. The week ended with a debriefing meeting re the hospital needs.


2. Children hospital 2 CH2 in Ho Chi Minh City:  IPSAC pediatric surgery (led by Dr. Butler) and Urology (led Dr. Klauber) with pediatric surgical residents returned for its 4th year. The requested surgical supplies were donated. Both teams started with joint clinic visits of preoperative patient evaluation.


General Pediatric Surgery: The pediatric surgical cases ranged from neonatal surgeries such as long gap tracheoesophageal fistulas to tumor resections. IPSAC started the concept of interdisciplinary meeting for oncology care several years ago. During this visit, the team was consulted on oncology cases.


Pediatric urology: repair of complex hypospadias, several cloacal malformations, urogenital sinuses, pyeloplasties.



3. Can Tho Children’s Hospital CTCH- IPSAC pediatric surgery (led by Dr. AiXuan Holterman), neonatology (led by Dr. Ho), pediatric anesthesia (led by Dr. Vo), surgical residents and volunteers made its first visit to the newly opened 750-beds children’s hospital. This visit was in support to a request by Children’s Hospital #1 to help relieve CH1 of its surgical volume burden through capacity building of its affiliated secondary Children’s Hospital of Can Tho and (see below) Danang.  The goal of this visit was to do an initial assessment of the hospital capacity, with tours of the emergency room, neonatal intensive care unit, the operating/recovery room and surgical ward. After donation of pediatric surgical journals and surgical supplies, the team screened 4 patients for surgery. Since our time was limited, the team proposed limiting its surgical and anesthesia activities the next day to a few minor cases and joint surgery for one major case, a patient with choledochal cyst. This allowed IPSAC to better evaluate the operating room work flow and capacity. Medical students from CT University of Medicine were welcomed to observe the OR activities.  Dr. Ho spent her time with NICU work rounds and lectures. The day concluded with a dinner by the beautiful CT river, hosted by CTCH Director and the surgical unit.


The team conducted joint postoperative rounds with the local surgeons the next day. IPSAC distributed graduation certificates to a multidisciplinary group of 8 CTCH (pediatric nurses, anesthetists, emergency medicine physicians, intensivist and surgeons) which participated in the Pediatric Acute Surgical Support workshop. This workshop was funded by the US Congress through the VN Education Foundation Scholar grant. The workshop goal is to enhance the readiness of first responders at the hospital in the initial assessment, stabilization, transfer and as appropriate the definitive care of children with acute surgical emergencies through blended didactic, skill training, simulation and case scenario discussions.


The visit ended with a debriefing meeting and discussion for a future MOU.  Considerations for areas of program development include anesthesia and surgical upskilling, nursing care, perioperative management, neonatal support.


This team traveled next to Danang Women and Children’s Hospital.



4. Danang Women and Children’s Hospital. IPSAC pediatric surgery (led by Dr. Mark Holterman), pediatric urology (led by Dr. David Lashley), neonatology (Dr. Ho) surgical residents and volunteers return for the team 6th visit. The team feels quite at home with this site, in the final days of its 2nd MOU for enhancing activities in anesthesia, urology and general pediatric surgery, & neonatology. The team started right away for preoperative clinic evaluation with our colleagues


Pediatric Surgery: 4 days of joint care of children with complex gastrointestinal problems including imperforate anus, Hirschsprung’s disease, sacrococcygeal teratoma. Surgical case management was discussed during joint work rounds in the pediatric surgical and the neonatal intensive care units.


Pediatric Urology: Simple and complex hypospadias repair, urological reconstructions, lectures and patient joint work rounds


Pediatric Neonatology: Workshops and introduction of the concept of neonatal “golden hour” with practical skill training for delivery room and NICU staff to enhance the outcome of neonates.


The team work ended with a debriefing meeting and a discussion for a 3rd MOU with DWCH Board of Directors. IPSAC assessment of the 6 years of collaboration was the significant progress in the division of pediatric surgery and anesthesia. The future collaboration will add a focus on radiology support to enhance perioperative management, upscaling the complexity of urology training, standardized anesthetic care, a training curriculum for pediatric surgery, and IPSAC support for international travel fellows from DWCH to visit a US pediatric institution as a team of 3 with anesthesia, surgery and nursing. 



5. Bioengineer Team:


The team blog can be found at:





With the support and introduction of IPSAC to Children’s Hospital #1 CH1, the University of Illinois at Chicago chapter of the Engineering World Health organization Dr. Miiri Kotche has been working on the design and build of a laminar flow hood to support infection reduction in Nhi Dong 1 Children's hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam since 2015.  In 2015, Dr. Kotche and two students accompanied the IPSAC team to conduct a site assessment and identify areas of collaboration with ND1 hospital.  An issue unique to the neonatal unit at ND1 is that the medications, TPN, IV fluids are not prepared in the pharmacy, but in the NICU ward. The bioengineering students have been working to design a low-cost laminar flow hood to provide an aseptic environment for preparing medications and fluids by controlling the flow of air through filter media and ultraviolet lamp to sterilize microbial contaminants.  On this return visit, 5 bioengineering students traveled to ND1 hospital to further assess the workspace and practical issues for the hood use and location in the NICU. The team met with the hospital engineers, the head of NICU and hospital leadership for more discussion on the device prototype intended use, on-site testing, subsequent building of additional hoods for further use in the clinical departments, its future impact on patient care, and the steps to pursue to continue this project.




Other activities The week following IPSAC official clinical activities:



6. National Hospital of Pediatrics NHP at Hanoi. IPSAC hosted Dr. Robert Cusick and a training fellow in pediatric surgery from the Children’s Hospital at Nebraska for their first visit at NHP. They visited the hospital, the surgical unit, gave grand rounds toward an assessment for areas of joint interests in pediatric surgery training or capacity enhancement. Further discussion of future activities is pending. Current IPSAC activities at NHP include a multisite prospective randomized interventional clinical trial for newborns for congenital bile duct malformations under a US FDA Investigational New Drug approval.



7. Thanh Hoa Children’s Hospital THCH. Under IPSAC sponsorship through an IPSAC-THCH MOU, Children’s Surgical International CSI team of urologists, anesthesiologists, volunteers and post surgical recovery support unit returns for its 3rd and final year to THCH. CIS donated surgical supplies and successfully delivered surgical care in urology to a large number of patients. CSI non-profit group, now in its 9 years of operation, has a focus on direct clinical service delivery and outpatient-based procedures.

IPSAC Service Trip #11 - March 2016


The week started with IPSAC's Board of Director's meeting followed by a team briefing and lunch at our benefactor business facility. IPSAC has 4 teams on this mission trip; the teams started their travel to their respective locations after the welcome luncheon.


Kon Tum General Hospital in the Central Highlands: Pediatric surgery (led by Dr. Browne), pediatric anesthesia (Dr. Nguyen Tan Phuoc), Pediatric surgical nursing (led by Nancy Browne), neonatal nursing (Lindsay Sohn), physical therapy (Mary Berg) and respiratory therapy (Lisa Fielding). Volunteer translators Khan, Tan, & Hoang. Pediatric surgical case consultations and joint surgeries, neonatal surgical wound care, neonatal care, classroom and bedside teaching by IPSAC advanced nurse practitioners and physical & respiratory therapists. Donated tools and supplies, educational materials. 


Nhi Dong 2 in Ho Chi Minh City:  IPSAC pediatric surgery (led by Dr. Chen) and Urology (led Dr. Klauber).  Team's 3rd return visit.

Pediatric surgery: joint complex surgical oncology and thoracic procedures with ND2 surgeons, combined pediatric surgery/pediatric urology approaches to repair of cloacal malformation, mullerian duct anomalies. Patient care conferences and academic support for manuscript preparation.

Pediatric urology: repair of complex hypospadias, several cloacal malformations, urogenital sinuses, pyeloplasties 

ND2 requests for IPSAC continued support for surgical techniques and patient management in surgical oncology, thoracic surgery and urology programs. 


Can Tho University of Medicine and Pharmacy.  IPSAC pediatric surgery and pediatric anesthesia representatives made its first visit to the Mekong Delta medical school and its affiliated children’s hospital. The institutions serve a population of 18 millions in the 16 provinces of the Mekong delta. This visit is in response to a request from Children’s Hospital #1 leader to help relieve CH1 of its surgical volume  burden through capacity building at its affiliated Children’s Hospital of CanTho. Discussion with CanTho faculty leaders and the international office of IPSAC potential areas of support, such as capacity enhancement for academic pediatric surgery including curriculum and outcome research. Further considerations for areas of program development and future MOU are pending.


Danang Women and Children’s Hospital. IPSAC pediatric surgery (led by Dr. Martin Lacher), pediatric urology (led by Dr. David Lashley), pediatric anesthesia  (Dr. Zahalka) and bioengineer (Mr. Vu Nguyen). Team's 5th visit.

Started the week with the pediatric surgery and urology teams preoperative clinic evaluation 

Pediatric Surgery: 4 days of joint management and laparoscopic surgeries for complex gastrointestinal cases including choledochal cysts, imperforate anus and Hirschsprung’s disease. Surgical case management was discussed during joint team work rounds in the pediatric surgical and the neonatal intensive care units. 

Pediatric Urology: Simple and complex hypospadias repair, urological reconstructions, lectures and patient work rounds

Pediatric Anesthesia: demonstrate new pediatric anesthesia techniques, joint anesthesia delivery, and lectures

Bioengineer: met with the local engineer and discussed preparation for IPSAC next return to bring the newly devised low cost laminar flood hood and strategies for implementing its use. 


Donated tools and supplies, educational materials. Discussed with hospital leadership the upcoming MOU renewal and future areas of program development. IPSAC will continue program support for urology, pediatric surgery and anesthesia efforts, including future sponsorship of a traveling Danang staff to the US.  










Work dates: 
  March 5-9, 2018; plan to arrive Ho Chi Minh City March 3, 2018.

General Information:

This year, IPSAC will continue to develop new or enhance current programs in clinical, educational and research development activities.


In collaboration with our Vietnamese colleagues, the clinical team will participate in exchanges for patient care, program development and work force enhancing capacities. IPSAC medical volunteers will be needed for several hospital sites. 
The sites are: 

1. Children’s Hospital #2, Ho Chi Minh City Programs: Pediatric Urology, Pediatric Surgical Oncology and Thoracic surgery. 

2. Danang Women’s and Children’s Hospital programs: Pediatric Urology, Pediatric Surgery Pediatric Anesthesia, Pediatric Radiology. We will test a new low cost laminar flow hood devised by the bioengineer team from the University of Illinois

3. Kon Tum General Hospital programs: Pediatric Surgery, Pediatric Anesthesia and Neonatology 

4. Can Tho University of Medicine and Pharmacy and Can Tho Children’s Hospital: first service visit. Pediatric Surgery and Anesthesia capacity building


Please contact IPSAC for further details. 










This year, IPSAC is delighted to sponsor Dr. Thanh Dinh, a young pediatric surgeon from the Children’s Hospital #1 in Ho Chi Minh City for the GAP travel fellowship.  She was selected among many pediatric surgeons from the developing countries in the Pacific Rim to attend the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Pacific Association of Pediatric Surgeons in Kauia.


For an additional 4 weeks, Dr. Dinh was hosted at the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children in Honolulu, at Comer’s Children's Hospital at Chicago and at the Children’s Hospital of Illinois in Peoria, with a final stop at the American Pediatric Surgical Association 2016 Annual Meeting in San Diego. IPSAC hopes that she will gain valuable insights through her encounters with US surgical team and US health care system to transform the care of pediatric surgical patients at her institution.