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Auckland Med School gets grant to help Viet Nam

School of Population Health Wins International Funding for Viet Nam Project

A University of Auckland team from the School of Population Health has been granted NZ $250,000 from The Atlantic Philanthropies to undertake a feasibility study for development of the Ha Noi School of Public Health in Viet Nam.

The Atlantic Philanthropies is a prestigious international foundation with a mission “to bring about lasting changes that will improve the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people”. It has made several large grants to Australian universities, but this grant to The University of Auckland is a first for New Zealand. The objective is to help the Ha Noi School of Public Health become a centre of excellence in public health training and research in Viet Nam.

Auckland’s School of Population Health – part of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences -- is unique in New Zealand and one of only a handful in the world based on a new understanding about public health and disease prevention. It is housed in a new multi-million dollar complex at the University’s Tamaki Campus that was specifically designed to enhance collaborations in population health teaching and research.

Medical and Health Sciences Dean Professor Peter Smith said the experience of establishing the new School at Tamaki will prove to be invaluable in helping Ha Noi develop a new vision and facility for public health in Viet Nam.

“Over the past 18 months, Dr Samson Tse – the Faculty’s Associate Dean (International) and Director of the Centre for Asian Health Research and Evaluation – and I have visited the Ha Noi School, and explored with The Atlantic Philanthropies Viet Nam office the possibility for collaboration.

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“Viet Nam has a strong track record of providing good primary health care, including a focus on immunisation. This public health foundation is in danger of being eroded by the burgeoning financial pressures associated with increasing rates of diseases like cancer, diabetes and stroke, and a serious escalation of traffic-related injuries. Our colleagues at the Ha Noi School recognised a need to adopt a more encompassing public health model that would address these significant challenges. Our goal is to work with them to produce a thorough, all-embracing ten-year master plan for the Ha Noi School, which will serve as a roadmap for its future development.

“Ha Noi’s municipal authority has gifted the School 15 hectares for construction of a new campus, which will house most teaching and research activities. The feasibility study will identify the technical aspects required for the School’s development, as well as the supporting infrastructure that will be needed,” said Professor Smith.

Dr Tse will be the project leader, and it will be managed and delivered by the Centre for Asian Health Research and Evaluation. “The project will draw upon the expertise of people like Professor Alistair Woodward, who heads our School of Population Health and is internationally recognised for his work in tobacco-related diseases, and School Operations Manager John West, who will advise on the technical and operational needs in planning and building a new complex in Ha Noi.

“The project in Viet Nam is a further example of the School of Population Health’s focus on regional and local Asian health issues,” said Dr Tse.

The School is hosting an Inaugural International Asian Health Conference at Tamaki Campus on 4 and 5 November 2004 to address health issues concerning Asian people in New Zealand

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