Global Health in Vietnam

Our mission is to enhance the care of the children in Vietnam through partnership with Vietnamese health care professionals to enhance the workforce and build the institutional capacity in pediatric. 

UIC & International Pediatric Specialists Alliance for the Children of Vietnam(IPSAC)

Dr. Ai-Xuan Holterman, our Co-Director for the UIC Pediatric Global Health Program, is the founder of IPSAC Vietnam. IPSAC facilitates and mediates academic exchanges and global health activities between UIC and Vietnam partner sites, working toward the missions of both the UIC Pediatric Global Health Program and IPSAC.


  • Thirty percent of the burden in global health is surgical in nature and 90% of the global burden of injuries affect low and middle-income (LMIC) countries1
  • Half of the surgical needs in the world are life-threatening
  • LMIC patients with injuries have a 6-10 fold higher mortality rate2
  • The 2030 Lancet commission on Global Surgery defined its sustainable development goals for global health GH to include universal access to timely, safe and affordable surgical and anesthesia care3
  • Surgery is the neglected stepchild of Global Health, with Pediatric Surgery as GH unborn child.


IPSAC-VN (International Pediatric Specialists Alliance for the Children of VietNam): A philanthropic organization with 501(c) (3) status, incorporated in 2009 in the US and in 2016 in Vietnam. Our volunteers are academic professionals of varying pediatric specialties (pediatric surgery/urology/ENT, anesthesiology, oncology, critical care, emergency medicine, neonatology, pediatric surgical nurse practitioners, etc.) and from US and non US health care institutions.

Our mission is to enhance the care of the children in Vietnam through partnership with Vietnamese health care professionals to enhance the workforce and build the institutional capacity.


We use a scholarly approach to our humanitarian activities, with the academic cornerstones of education, research, and patient care, but with patient care to the extent that it is used as the clinical base for training and research, for the ultimate goal to improve patient care.
We do workforce building and workforce skill enhancement activities for pediatric surgery and pediatric subspecialties at VN pediatric institutions through

  1. Clinical program development such as quality improvement and patient safety initiatives
  2. Educational and training projects such as a new resuscitation course in pediatric acute surgical emergencies (PASS) for first responders in low resources facilities. The course currently targets future trainers of front-line medical staff from LMIC.
  3. Promotion of research activities such as conducting interventional clinical trials, and collaborating in innovative translational investigations with scientists in Vietnam
  4. Support of academic activities such as manuscript preparations, publications, and scientific presentations, and sponsorship of qualified LMIC individuals for grant applications of observership at US institutions.

Our sites of operation include medical universities in the South of Vietnam, and 6 children hospitals in the North, Central and South of Vietnam. The frequency of the visit at any of the sites is a function of their programmatic needs.

US trainees’ participation in of our activities is site-specific and program-dependent.
We are developing a structured program to engage residents for 2-4 weeks of combined observership and longitudinal outcome research for quality of training and safety practices at urban children hospitals in Ho Chi Minh. This program is to be implemented in 2018.

1. Murray CJ, et al. Disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) for 291 diseases and injuries in 21 regions, 1990–2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. Lancet. 2012 Dec 15;380(9859):2197–223.
2. Mock CN, et al. Trauma outcomes in the rural developing world: comparison with an urban level I trauma center. J Trauma. 1993 Oct;35(4):518–23.
3. Ng-Kamstra J et al. Global Surgery 2030: a roadmap for high income country actors. BMJ Glob Health. 2016 1(1):e000011 For additional information, please visit our website at IPSACVIETNAM.ORG. The following pages provide more details of our activities.

Partnership with City Children Hospital Ho Chi Minh City

In November of 2018, UIC Pediatrics Faculty Members & Residents visited City Children’s Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Our faculty members provided a PASS training course while our residents spent 2 weeks for a global health rotation.