Award-winning female lecturer devotes whole life to science

Associate Professor Truong Thanh Huong, senior lecturer at the Hanoi Medical University and expert at the Vietnam National Heart Institute under Bach Mai Hospital, has been given Vietnam’s 2020 Kovalevskaya Award 

 for her contribution to helping thousands of people with cardiovascular diseases over many years.

Award-winning female lecturer devotes whole life to science
Associate Professor Truong Thanh Huong speak with a foreign colleague at work. — Photo suckhoedoisong.vn

Huong is one of the country's leading medical experts, with many scientific works published.

Huong has conducted many studies related to congenital and genetic cardiovascular diseases, genetic pharmacology in individualising treatment of cardiovascular disease and development of new technologies in echocardiography. She has also chaired 19 scientific studies and published 75 scientific articles in domestic and international journals so far.

Huong is also the editor of 20 medical textbooks and documents.

Her two most outstanding scientific studies consist of the project "Building genetic mutation map of familial hypercholesterolaemia and proposing a disease management model in Vietnam" and the project "Surveying some common polymorphisms of CYP2C19 gene related to Clopidogrel medicine’s response in people with coronary artery disease in Vietnam”.

According to medical experts, the first project is a process of screening, diagnosis, genetic testing, genetic counselling and setting up a managing model of familial hypercholesterolaemia in Vietnam. The project’s results have been transferred to medical facilities to serve healthcare.

Associate Professor Pham Manh Hung, president of Vietnam National Heart Institute, said familial hypercholesterolaemia was a hereditary disease, affecting generations of a family and causing dangerous complications such as heart attacks and strokes in young people.

Worryingly, there were nearly 500,000 patients in the country contracting the disease. In the past, very few patients were detected and treated early, he said.

Hung said they received many children with familial hypercholesterolaemia with dangerous complications. The study by Huong had assisted medical experts to detect the disease, quickly intervene and screen family members that had yet to suffer complications for early treatment.

The other project has already been transferred to producers to make a chip that could quickly diagnose the polymorphism of the CYP2C19 gene, he said.

It had helped hundreds of thousands of patients with coronary artery disease minimise complications and the risk of death as well as save annual medical expenses for the country, he said.

He also said that statistics showed that cardiovascular diseases were believed to cause the highest number of deaths, leading to the death of 18.6 million people worldwide; about four times higher than HIV, malaria and tuberculosis.

Hung said data revealed that over 32 per cent of patients died of cardiovascular diseases in Vietnam.

Therefore, cardiovascular-disease studies by Huong were very meaningful, contributing to improving treatment efficiency and reducing risks of death for patients with cardiovascular diseases, he said.

Also thanks to Huong’s studies, patients and their families had the opportunity to access optimal diagnosis and treatment, limiting the occurrence of cardiovascular complications, especially in adolescents, thereby helping to protect people's health, he said. 

 

Doctor, teacher

Huong's father and mother worked for the military. When she was a child, she went with her father and saw many soldiers with injuries treated in poor conditions.

"The image stuck with me, inspiring my dream to become a doctor in the future," she said.

She studied hard and became one of the first two cardiologists to graduate from Hanoi Medical University with excellent results. After graduation in 1987, she started to work as a lecturer at the university and a doctor at the Vietnam National Heart Institute.

She was soon sent to Paris, France, to study Clinical Cardiology and Doppler echocardiography at the University of Paris and the Saint-Antoine Hospital and learn about congenital heart disease at the Robert Debré Hospital.

She returned to Vietnam in 1997 and continued working at the institute and the university. Huong was given the Vietnam’s Scientific and Technological Innovation Award in 2012 for her tireless efforts in scientific research.

As a senior lecturer at the university, she always renews her teaching methods. She applied modern teaching methods such as the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) and Mini-Clinical Evaluation Exercise (Mini-CEX) for medical students, contributing to improve the quality of teaching and learning at the university.

She also actively participated in training high-quality human resources for the national health sector. She has directly trained more than 40 Ph.D, MBA and resident doctors and instructed and transferred advanced technologies to hundreds of doctors and medical staff at medical facilities across the country.

Huong works as a bridge for many young doctors and scientists to have the opportunity to access international scientific environments to study and improve their capacity, contributing to raising the quality of scientific research of Vietnam.

She was given the title of “Excellent Teacher” in 2014.

Kim Ngoc Thanh, a lecturer at the university and one of Huong’s students, said: “Huong is an honourable teacher for many generations of students.

"Not only enthusiastic about the profession and ready to teach all she knows to the next generation, she also helps young doctors have the opportunity to participate in major medical forums around the world.

“She gives us all her knowledge and experiences and always says she hopes we will teach all we know to the next generations as well,” he said.

Huong said: “Knowledge must be spread to really have great value and power.”

Hung, president of Vietnam National Heart Institute, said Huong completely deserved Vietnam’s 2020 Kovalevskaya Award. The award is the driving force and a great encouragement for female scientists, who have devoted their whole life to contributing to society.  VNS

Winners of Kovalevskaya Award 2020 announced

Winners of Kovalevskaya Award 2020 announced

Winners of the Kovalevskaya Award 2020, a prize dedicated to outstanding female scientists, were announced at a ceremony held jointly by the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) and the Vietnam Women’s Union Central Committee.

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