Portrait of happy senior man and his adult daughter leaning on his shoulder

UC Davis Health offering Vietnamese Mini-Medical School for the second year

Event in Vietnamese and English gives seniors and caregivers a chance to learn about healthy aging

(SACRAMENTO)

For the second year, UC Davis Health is partnering with Asian Resources Inc. (ARI) to host a half-day Vietnamese Mini-Medical School focused on healthy aging (lão hóa khỏe mạnh) for Sacramento's Vietnamese community. 

The event is being held at ARI in Sacramento from 9:15 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 21. Registration is free, and presentations from local health professionals will be conducted in Vietnamese and English. A question-and-answer session will follow each presentation. Participants are asked to register here. ­ 

Inspiration came from UC Davis Health's highly acclaimed mini-medical school (MMS) program, which has been promoting healthy aging for 20 years. Oanh Meyer, associate professor of neurology at UC Davis School of Medicine, launched a virtual version of Vietnamese Mini-Medical School in 2021 to use the model to reach seniors and their family members in the Vietnamese community.

“Vietnamese Americans are a large population locally and nationally. As they age in the U.S., it’s important that we provide community education on different health needs for them and their family caregivers. Last year’s virtual event was a great success, and we anticipate this year’s in-person event to be the same,” Meyer said. 

Many older Vietnamese Americans face unique health challenges due to language barriers, access to quality care, and the trauma they experienced during the Vietnam War and as refugees. 

The topics will address a range of health challenges faced by seniors, including those experienced during the pandemic, common medications and finding resources. 

Oanh Meyer
The Vietnamese Mini-Medical School provides an opportunity to address some of these disparities by providing a way for people to obtain health information from trusted sources and in an enjoyable community setting.Oanh Meyer

Presenters for the 2022 Vietnamese Mini-Medical School include: 

  • Nam Tran, a professor and senior director of clinical pathology at UC Davis Health, will talk about how COVID-19 testing evolved during the pandemic and what's being done now to address the testing needs of the community.  
  • Brent Luu, an associate clinical professor in the UC Davis Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, will provide an overview of common medications used in older adults for diabetes and hypertension. 
  • Tuong-Vi Ha, a physician specializing in family medicine, will discuss how to better care for family members as they age, including legal aspects like durable power of attorney and the importance of finding resources. 

Vietnamese Americans are the fourth largest Asian subgroup in the U.S. After the fall of Saigon in 1975, the U.S. sponsored the evacuation of an estimated 125,000 refugees. In the following years, there was a mass exodus as the humanitarian crisis increased. Currently, more than 2 million people of Vietnamese descent live in the U.S.

Meyer is leading a first-of-its-kind study that is following older Vietnamese Americans to see what role adversity and trauma play in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and how being a Vietnam War-era refugee affects brain health.  

Meyer also leads the Diversity and Disparities Lab, which has the goal of translating research into culturally appropriate, community-based interventions that will help those suffering from dementia and their family caregivers. 

“Many older Vietnamese Americans in Sacramento lack access to culturally and linguistically appropriate care. The Vietnamese Mini-Medical School provides an opportunity to address some of these disparities by providing a way for people to obtain health information from trusted sources and in an enjoyable community setting,” Meyer said. 

The Vietnamese Mini-Medical School is sponsored by the Clinical and Translational Science Center’s (CTSC) Integrating Special Populations into Research (INSPIRE) program and the UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC).  

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