Children’s Hospital of Illinois Physician Selected for U.S. Faculty Scholars Program in Vietnam


  • CHOI PASS team, VEF opening day

    Children's Hospital of Illinois & Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine teams in Vietnam

A Children’s Hospital of Illinois surgeon is one of six U.S. professors selected to teach at Vietnamese universities during the 2016-2017 academic year as part of the Vietnam Education Foundation (VEF) U.S. Faculty Scholar Program.

Dr. Ai-Xuan Holterman, pediatric surgeon at Children’s Hospital of Illinois and Professor of Surgery at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria, along with a team of Children’s Hospital clinician-educators, is collaborating with Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine faculty in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to pilot the Pediatric Acute Surgical Support (PASS) curriculum.

(Dr. Girish Deshpande, Dr. Sara Krzyzaniak and clinical education nurse scholars Toufic Khairallah, APN and Ginger Barton, RN are the other members of the team).

The curriculum blends lectures with case analyses, procedural skills training and simulated clinical scenarios. The focus of Dr. Holterman’s project is preparing health care personnel from facilities with limited resources to deliver a standardized initial assessment and management approach to pediatric surgical emergencies. The goal is to enhance the surgical capacity of district hospitals and improve pediatric care in Vietnam.  

This program is pertinent to the care of patients in central Illinois, with important applications to rural communities lacking in pediatric surgical expertise. This effort is conceived as an institutional action project submitted for Dr. Holterman’s 2016 Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) class. ELAM is a core program of the Institute for Women's Health and Leadership at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, PA. Established in 1995, it is a highly selective program dedicated to senior women faculty preparing for leadership roles at academic health science institutions.

The Vietnam Education Foundation is a U.S. government agency in its fourteenth year of operation. The mission of VEF is to strengthen U.S. - Vietnam bilateral relationship through educational exchanges in the STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine) fields. The VEF carries out its mission by providing opportunities for Vietnamese nationals to pursue graduate and post-graduate studies in these fields in the United States, and for American citizens to teach in the same fields of study in Vietnam.



Shelli Dankoff
Media Relations Program Manager
(309) 655-3897