University of South Carolina

USC hosts Vietnamese delegation

By Jeff Stensland, stenslan@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-777-3686

The College of Social Work at the University of South Carolina will host a group of policy officials from Vietnam that is traveling to Columbia to learn about how American social service groups provide support to vulnerable residents.

The group of 23 is part of Vietnam’s Ministry of Labour - Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) and will be in Columbia for two weeks from Monday, Sept. 16 through Saturday, Sept. 28. They will participate in learning sessions taught by USC researchers and top officials from state health and public assistance agencies, including the S.C. Department of Social Services, S.C. Department of Mental Health and the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

The group, led by the vice minister of MOLISA, will learn about multiple aspects of providing needed services to veterans, the elderly, disabled, low-income families and the mentally ill.  USC social work professor Huong Nguyen, a native of Vietnam who helped organize the trip, said the delegation’s main goal is to find ways to better serve its own citizens.

With a population of nearly 90 million, Vietnam is the world’s 13th most populous country. And while the country’s economy has experienced rapid growth over the past two decades due to free-market reforms, it is only recently that social work has been recognized as a profession.

“Social work is in its infancy in Vietnam, and the delegation members are interested in creating the infrastructure to support services to vulnerable populations,” Nguyen said.

College of Social Work Dean Anna Scheyett said it’s also a chance to build cultural and professional bridges.

“A visit from the Vietnam MOLISA delegation is a tremendous opportunity for the College of Social Work,” said College of Social Work Dean Anna Scheyett. ”Through this visit we will have the opportunity to collaborate with a country early in its development of social services.  We can learn from their innovations and provide them with information and experience grounded in our research and practice. It is, I hope, the beginning of a long and mutually beneficial collaboration.”

Pete Liggett, deputy director for Long Term Care and Behavioral Health at the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, said the chance to interact with professionals from across the globe will be mutually beneficial.

“By sharing how communities here and across the world address similar challenges, we can successfully bring innovative, successful ideas to fruition and impart lessons learned,” he said.

Posted: 09/13/13 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 09/13/13 @ 4:00 PM | Permalink