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Volunteer efforts for oncology in Vietnam awarded

The spirit of collaboration and friendship keeps Professor David Goldstein returning every year to Hue, central Vietnam, where he volunteers his time and knowledge to a local oncology project.

The Prince of Wales Clinical School conjoint professor has been project director to the Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO) oncology project in Hue since 2012.

This year, HVO awarded him with the Golden Apple Award, recognising his exceptional voluntary contribution to improving global health.

It’s really interesting to move out of the usual experience and style of care and see an entirely different environment, different presentations and a different approach.

Professor Goldstein’s role sees him prepare volunteer teams of professionals from different specialties to ensure both they and their hosts get the most from the experience.

Once a year he joins one of the teams and contributes his own expertise, using the opportunity to catch up with his contacts at Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy and Hue Central Hospital.

When the volunteers return home, he follows up to formulate future plans for the project.

“Universally they find it a very enriching experience,” Professor Goldstein says.

“It’s really interesting to move out of the usual experience and style of care and see an entirely different environment, different presentations and a different approach culturally and to life generally.”

The facilities in Hue have good equipment and high quality senior staff, so the HVO project focuses on training for less senior staff, and developing multidisciplinary care.

HVO volunteers include physicians, nurses, dentists and others, who donate their time and expertise to work side-by-side with fellow professionals from around the world.

Professor Goldstein is encouraging more Australian radiologists, nurses and allied health professionals to join HVO, which has been working to improve the health workforce in developing countries since 1986.

HVO Executive Director Nancy Kelly praised Professor Goldstein for his commitment to the project in Hue.

“Professor Goldstein is an inspirational leader, providing guidance to HVO’s project in Hue, Vietnam to bring positive improvements to cancer care throughout the region,” she said.

“We are grateful for his dedication to empowering health workers and ensuring more and better care is available where it is most needed.”

Professor Goldstein is the director of the Cancer Institute NSW Translational Cancer Research Network and is involved with research into survivorship issues at the UNSW National Cancer Survivors Centre.