Robin Mama, Ph.D., dean of the School of Social Work, and John Patro, OTD, OTR/L, associate professor and chair of the Occupational Therapy Department, recently traveled to Vietnam to create global connections and opportunities for Monmouth students in the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) and School of Social Work programs.
Mama and Patro traveled to Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City to meet with local hospital administrators and physicians, Team Volunteer Doctors (TVD), and the Asia Injury Prevention (AIP) Foundation. This was Patro’s first trip to Vietnam.
“It is my hope that this is the beginning of a rich partnership that will facilitate international experiential learning opportunities and generate meaningful scholarship that will advance occupational therapy (OT) practice abroad. Vietnam does not have OT in their medical facilities or schools, nor do they have any formal OT training programs. I was able to connect with local hospital administrators and physicians to understand the needs and determine ways in which OTD students could support international programming,” Patro said.
Mama and Patro joined TVD in Da Nang, meeting with administrators from two area hospitals, Da Nang Orthopedic Hospital and Da Nang Psychiatric Hospital, to explore future opportunities for OTD and Master of Social Work (MSW) students.
They later traveled to Ho Chi Minh City, meeting with AIP to discuss the possibility of the foundation becoming an internship host for Monmouth OTD students, the same way AIP has served MSW students in the past.
According to Patro, AIP is “eager to continue serving in this capacity and opening up opportunities for OTD students.” He went on to mention, “It’s my hope that there will be some OTD students who complete their capstone experience abroad in January 2024.”
Both Mama and Patro are excited to develop and expand upon these international relationships to provide OTD and MSW students with international experiential opportunities, preparing them to become global leaders in their respective fields.