The 27th Occupational Therapy Australia Conference “Partnership, Inclusion and Innovation”

Perth welcomed us in a very early cold of its mid-winter. Our flights was landed at 2h30 in the morning after a long nearly 13 hour-flight and transferred at Kuala Lumpur airport.

Gotten in a cab, four of us (Ms. Cam Hung- Head of Rehab Department, Hai Duong Medical Technical University (HMTU), Ms. Thanh Van – Head of PhysioTherapy Department, University of Medicine and Pharmacy (UMP-HCMC), Dr. Pham Dung – Country Director of MCNV in Vietnam and my self–as Coordinator of OT Education Program) were shivering with sleepy eyes in that small space which operated by electronic and broke through the quiet and velvet night to the hotel.

A bit exciting to head up to the 27th Occupational Therapy Australia Conference in the upcoming days.

Such a privilege to us – a delegation from Vietnam to attend the 27th OT Australia Conference which was held from July 18th-21st in Perth, Western Australia.

The first day in Perth was Education Day and hosted by Curtin University – one of the leading in OT training courses in Australia as well as in the world. Lots of experience and sharing from universities (Curtin University, Swinburne University, James Cook University, University of South Australia, Charles Sturt University, Deakin University, Griffith University, Australia Catholic University, University of Sydney, La Trobe University, University of Queensland, Monash University…)  who are providing OT education exchanged openly with different topics such as Contextualizing the cultural competency journey of OT, Innovations in project management practice education for student professional development through high quality, strategic and inter-professional opportunities… The two lecturers from HMTU and UMP-HCMC had excited opportunities to discussed innovations in OT education with colleagues from other universities. These discussed topics were valuable and useful directly for the OT Education Development in Vietnam which is undertaken by HMTU and UMP with support from MCNV and granted by USAID from 2015-2020.

Discussed topics were:

  • Innovation in establishing and maintaining partnerships in practice education
  • Innovation in preparing and debriefing students
  • Innovation in preparing and debriefing supervisors for students practice education
  • Innovation in innovation in assessment
  • Innovation in international practice education opportunities
  • Innovation in sourcing funds for practice education
  • Innovation in non-traditional and/or role-emerging practice education
  • Innovation in simulation

Vietnam delegation at the Education Day hosted by Curtin University.

Photo credit: MCNV

A strong sense of confidence about what we are doing in Vietnam grows among us!

And the second day in Perth but first day of the OT conference was  fulfilled with emotions and pride by very inspired, short and sweet speeches from policy makers, OT practitioner and especially a client who had received OT services after surviving from a bomb suicide in London years ago. More impressive was the rhythm of welcoming to country – traditional custodians of the land sang by an Aboriginal man. So warm and proud.

Opening Session of the 27th OT Australia Conference, Perth city

Photo credit: MCNV

Running from session to session, presentation to presentation, question to answer in such a busiest scientific program from July 19th – 21st, we ran back and forth as shuttles just wanted to learn as much as we can from researchers, practitioners, educators, policy makers, consumers/service-users, managers and students. All is about OT. “The conference was a great opportunity to explore new directions, to learn about enhancements to practice and to participate in discussions about our professional development” Ms. Hung/HMTU said.

Fondly imagined that tea-break times could bring us some air, but meetings and non-stop conversations about OT with colleagues from over the world. That was the times we could visit and view exhibitor areas of practice. Engaged with the exhibition and met with exhibitors and learned about new products and all available assistive devices were exhibited, a pained question hit heart and brain “when Vietnamese people could access to and have these assistive devices in OT services?” We wished could bring them all home. However, ideas for the ADL labs at HMTU and UMP bloomed.

Ms. Cam Hung from HMTU was exchange with a delegate from the USA.

Photo credit: MCNV

A short visit to the department of Occupational Therapy and Social Work, Curtin University brought us an overview about OT training program – simulation-based education and the OT lab at the university.

Images taken from the visit to the Department of OT and Social Work, Curtin University

Photo credit: MCNV

To end this note, as the President of OT Australia, Peter Bothams spoke in his opening “The theme Partnership, Inclusion and Innovation has never been more apt than now. We are a diverse professional community, and this is one of our strengths as we increasingly find ourselves working in changing dynamic environments where our roles evolve and flex to suit emerging needs, with many occupational therapists pioneering paths for the profession.”

YES – WE – MCNV – proudly stand among pioneers for OT profession in Vietnam!


By Tran Quynh Trang – MCNV Program Coordinator