2017 Oncology mission summary

NOV 20 – DEC 1, 2017

2017 is the most ambitious and accomplished IHVN oncology mission year in Vietnam. In collaboration and partnership with Roche Pharma Saigon, our program for this year extends beyond our usual on-site lymphomas workshops and cases review at participating hospitals. Joining our mission director Yen Nguyen and our two senior hematopathologists Drs Vanessa Dayton and Chi Nguyen are our guest traveler Dr. Danny Milner, Medical Director of the Center for Global Health (CGH) at the American Society for Clinical Pathologists (ASCP); Colleen Forster, Senior Medical Technologist, U of Minnesota Medical school Research Lab; and Scott Kinder, Information Technology specialist from Boulder, CO.

Roche Pharma Saigon sponsored logistics expenses for Drs Dayton and Nguyen and Colleen Forster for the two-week mission in Hanoi and Saigon and Scott Kinder was sponsored by ASCP CGH.

Annual Lymphomas Workshop sponsored by Roche Pharma Saigon.

Based upon specific request by 3 local hospitals in Hanoi, K3 Hospital, Bach Mai, and the National Institute of Hematology & Blood Transfusion (NIHBT), Drs Dayton and Nguyen presented a lecture on the basic histopathology of bone marrow with emphasis on the non-Hodgkin lymphoma with metastasis to the bone marrow. Each afternoon at these hospitals, they also reviewed and discussed cases selected by the local pathologists. Dr. Danny Milner joined us at K3 Hospital, toured the Department of Pathology and met with the Directors of K Hospital and K3 Path lab. He also participated in the lymphoma pathology workshop presented by Drs Dayton and Nguyen at K3 facility.

In Saigon, HCMC Oncology Hospital, Blood Transfusion & Hematology Hospital (BTH), and Cho Ray Hospital each requested our hematologists to spend the day assisting them with their lymphoma cases and providing diagnostic recommendations for these cases. At Cho Ray Hospital, a lecture on the 2016 WHO classification of lymphomas was also presented to staff pathologists, residents, and medical school students.

Histotechnology Support & Education

Upon recommendation by IHVN mission doctors, Roche Pharma coordinated with selected hospitals in both Hanoi and Saigon to bring Colleen Forster, a US based educator and expert on histology/immunohistochemistry to 4 different diagnostic labs during the same period our US pathologists were scheduled to work at these hospitals. Dr. Bich Thao Dang, a Saigon based doctor with excellent English skills, was Colleen Forster’s interpreter and translator. Colleen and Thao “embedded” in each lab, made observations and recorded their findings on the first day of their visit. Colleen visited different workstations in each lab, watched the local staff performing their daily routines to prepare tissue samples and diagnostic slides for the pathology lab.

At each hospital, Colleen presented a PowerPoint presentation on the theories of HE staining and IHC technique to all lab personnel. A PowerPoint presentation was given at each hospital summarizing the observations and recommendations made during that visit.

Evaluation and documentation of the IT infrastructure and laboratory readiness

In preparation for a productive and functional telepathology and telemedicine program for the Vietnamese pathologists, IHVN IT specialist Scott Kinder was assigned duties at 3 selected hospitals, K3 and NIHBT in Hanoi and HCMC Oncology Hospital in Saigon. Scott met and discussed with the IT personnel at each hospital to determine the readiness of the local Path Lab for a telepathology program. Many difficulties and challenges were identified, from hardware to software installation, problems with high-speed internet connection, to the lack of equipment necessary to digitize diagnostic slides, such as a digital slide scanner, and storage issues on the local server.

For the telepathology project to move forward successfully, these obstacles should be solved by each hospital we visited, and investment by the local administrators to improve and upgrade their IT infrastructure and to provide their pathology department with additional equipment to benefit from this modern technology proposed by the US team.

Presentation at the Asia Pacific International Academy of Pathology Congress – HCMC

IHVN mission volunteers, Drs Dayton, Nguyen, and Milner were invited to attend this conference on Nov 26, 2017, as presenters.

Drs Dayton and Dr. Nguyen co-presented the 2016 WHO Updates on classifications of lymphomas while Dr. Milner’s presentation focused on “Progress towards establishing a lymphoma telemedicine program between Vietnam and the United States”.

2017 was also the year that an article initiated by Dr. Vanessa Dayton and co authored by some Vietnamese pathologists and Roche Pharma medical director was accepted and published in the professional Journal AJCP. The title of the article is “Evaluation of Opportunities to Improve Hematopathology Diagnosis for Vietnam Pathologists”.