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04/03/2019 - 07:37

Prof. Tran Huu Dang, the inspiration for the young generation 

Prof. Tran Huu Dang was born into a peasant family in La Chu village, Huong Tra town, a land rich in revolutionary tradition and famous for learning in Hue. His childhood was laden with hardship and poverty. It is admirable that he has overcome everything to achieve his present success.

Prof. Dr. Tran Huu Dang, former Vice Rector of Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy and current Chairman of Thua Thien Hue Union of Science and Technology Associations (the Union), is well known among Hue’s intellectual circles. His colleagues and friends name him the “Prof. Tran Huu Dang, the “inspiration for the young generation”.

Prof. Tran Huu Dang

1.  At the age of 65, he still looks youthful and agile. Especially, his hair is still as black as it was when I met him more than 5 years ago at Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy. As he realized that I was an acquaintance, our conversation became intimate, sometimes touching the past and evoking many moving details.

Prof. Tran Huu Dang was born into a peasant family in La Chu village, Huong Tra town, a land rich in revolutionary tradition and famous for learning in Hue. His childhood was laden with hardship and poverty. It is admirable that he has overcome everything to achieve his present success.

His choice to become a doctor was partly because of his father’s orientation. In 1978, he graduated from Medical University, was offered lectureship in Internal Medicine, then worked his way to the position of Vice Rector of Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy. He was involved in both management work and teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students on endocrinology-diabetes. While in his teaching process, he spent time conducting many research projects, which are well known by both domestic and international colleagues.

Prof. Tran Huu Dang (middle) in a meeting

Dr. Ton That Tri Dung, a student of Prof. Tran Huu Dang from the 1991-1997 cohort and now Head of Stroke Department, Hue Central Hospital, says that Prof. Dang was destined to be a master and a “life saver”. In every of his classes, there was not only the transfer of medical skills but also the stories about kindness and compassion, igniting the “flame of aspiration” in his students and young doctors to follow their ideal and to love their patients wholeheartedly.

He defended his doctoral dissertation in 1996 and was appointed professor in 2011. Prof. Tran Huu Dang had his medical residency in France in 1991, which is an achievement many medical practitioners always dream of; and he was one of the first doctors in Hue to work as a resident physician at Jean Verdier Hospital in France. At this time, he was also one of the three Vietnamese doctors that earned the respect by his colleagues for the sense of responsibility, professionalism and good foreign language skills and therefore often given a chance to attend at the hospital.

Later on, he returned to France in 1994 to further his expertise. He has also been invited by international friends from Germany, France, China, and Singapore, etc., to attend seminars and training courses to acquire advanced knowledge in the field.

2.  In 2013, Prof. Tran Huu Dang retired from the position of Vice Rector of Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy but continued to work as a senior lecturer at the university. At this time, he also assumed the Chairmanship of Thua Thien Hue Union of Science and Technology Associations (hereinafter referred to as the Union) despite many appealing invitations to be manager of hospitals in Da Nang, Quang Nam and Khanh Hoa with the salary of no less than 100 million VND per month.

Prof. Tran Huu Dang in a memorial photo with medical students

When talking about this, Prof. Dang laughed and admitted that at that time many of his colleagues and students considered his joining the Union quite unusual. Why not choose to work somewhere with higher income? He answered that at the age of 60, he wanted neither position nor money. What he wanted to do was to contribute to awakening Hue’s intellectual potentials.

In his new position, Prof. Dang “reformed” the working procedures at the Union. There was derision at first and even within the organization, and there were those who supported and those who didn’t. With his own experience, after only a few months, he didn’t have to worry like in the beginning because the Union had experienced many positive changes.

Particularly, thanks to his encouragement, from a membership of less than 20 member associations, the Union now consists of nearly 50 organizations, with more than 30,000 members, 9 science and technology centers and affiliated clubs. Some member associations also have a network of sub-associations and affiliated associations that expand to wards, communes, businesses, schools, health care organizations, etc.

Every year, Prof. Dang often takes the opportunity to meet and consult with provincial leaders to organize honor meetings for outstanding intellectuals and non-professional inventors, etc. So far, not many provinces and cities have organized these activities to help provincial leaders have an opportunity to encourage and listen to scientists propose their solutions for local socio-economic development. It is thanks to the effort and responsibility of Prof. Dang that the Union has recently maintained and expanded the Science and Technology Innovation Award to all categories of participants.

Each year there are hundreds of science and technology projects and initiatives entering the award from not only the local area; in which many projects have been deployed and applied effectively into practice. He said: “Without the encouragement for those with talents to compete and participate in science and technology awards, how would the incubator (capacity of 10,000 eggs) invented by the country boy Nguyen Van Nhan in Phu Loc now have many orders from Australia, Laos and Cambodia, creating a revenue of billions of VND per year. Another similar example is the project ‘Using Bokashi-betel bio-product in aquaculture’ by Hue University of Agriculture and Forestry, which now attracts partners to transfer at the value of up to tens of billions VND...”

Prof. Dang shared that he has evaluated and assessed many initiatives by students, which were initially thought to be just for fun but then were honored to represent Vietnam to participate in the International Youth Innovation Exhibition. Typical of such cases are the projects “Sky Guide” and “Building the Solar Battery System according to the Celestial Equatorial Coordinates” by Dang Hoang San and Huynh Tang Tuan, students of Quoc Hoc Gifted High School, which received Silver medals in 2017 in Japan.

According to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tran Ngoc Nam, former Director of the Department of Science and Technology, Prof. Dang is active, responsible and visionary in his work. Thanks to his qualities, the Union has been able to provide support and encouragement for intellectuals and scientists who love their job and have a passion for scientific and technological invention.

Currently, Prof. Dang is having many plans for the Union. “Nowhere else in this S-shaped country is there a province with a population of 1.1 million but having more than 250 Professors, 550 Doctors and thousands of people with Master’s degrees. So, why not encourage and help them be “dynamic” in the 4.0 era to have more new products, projects and scientific inventions, which would benefit everyone?” That’s how Prof. Dang ended the conversation before we parted.

Prof. Tran Huu Dang is currently a senior lecturer at Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Chairman of the Diabetes Association of Thua Thien Hue, Vice Chairman of the Diabetes Association of Vietnam. He was awarded the Third-class Labor Medal by the State, Certificate of Merit from the Prime Minister and many other noble certificates of merit from central and local government agencies.

Story and photos: Minh Van

 

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