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Dr. Thao Do’s Journey in Oral Health Research

Hello, my name is Thao Do, and I am a Vice Dean, Faculty of Odonto-Stomatology, Can Tho University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Vietnam.

Do Thi Thao in red dress with floral background
Dr. Thao Do

It was in February 2014 when I participated in a one-week training at the International Workshop on Clinical Research Methods in Oral Health in Quang Nam, Vietnam, where I was motivated by Prof. Timothy DeRouen and Dr. Ana Lucia Seminario whom encouraged me to achieve oral health research goals abroad. During this training experience, I had the pleasure of meeting Prof. Waranuch Pitiphat who gave me an opportunity to do training in research skills, where I became more confident and fell in love with scientific research.

Through generous support from NIH, I received an unprecedented opportunity to attend the 2014 Summer Institute on Clinical Dental Research Methods in Seattle. I continued learning in the areas of research project planning, clinical epidemiology, study design, clinical trials, surveys and measurement, biostatistics, ethics, and molecular biology. It was a great experience for me to improve my teamwork and presentation skills, and gain confidence interacting with other people in English. I enjoyed attending the research training institute, where I was able to learn different areas of scientific research and meet people differing dental specialties and cultures.

After finishing the Summer Institute training, I went to Khon Kaen University, Thailand for my Ph.D. program. With the knowledge and skills learned from the Summer Institute, I combined my love of scientific research with research communication and had the ability to work independently and improve my teamwork skills. This helped me a lot while writing my thesis, allowing me to finish the doctoral program and write my thesis within four years.

Thoa and Dr. DeRouen receiving diploma
Thao and Tim DeRouen at the 2014 COHO Summer Institute in Clinical Research Methods

In 2018, I came back to my university and was appointed the Deputy Head of Scientific Research and International Cooperation. This was a great opportunity to be able to share my experience with my colleagues and to further develop the scientific research, article publications, and ethics committee at our university and motivate our school to join international research projects in Southeast Asia.

Dr. Thoa and two graduates
PhD graduation with Khon Kaen University leaders.

In addition, as a lecturer of the Faculty of Odonto-Stomatology, I conducted clinical research and mentoring of master’s students to develop the skills required for conducting research in oral health. Attending the Summer Institute help me improve my skills in teaching and writing, and I published a textbook about oral diseases for our students.

Currently, I have been appointed as Vice Dean of our faculty. I have been able to utilize scientific research skills and encourage students and colleagues to pursue additional research opportunities and help craft the school’s integrated approach to education and research. Recently, I joined an NIH project, that is a project training grant from UW/KKU for ASEAN countries. I expect that the program will significantly strengthen oral health research capacity in global oral health in Southeast Asia. In addition, I believe that my expertise gained during these valuable years has armed me with the necessary competency to participate and lead projects, particularly on the aspect of clinical research and oral health in Mekong Delta.

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