March 14, 2024

Dr Vu Thi Lan Huong: A Leadership Journey in the Fight Against Antimicrobial Resistance 

Since obtaining her PhD from the University of Oxford in 2017, Dr Vu Thi Lan Huong has charted a transformative journey, rising to spearhead the Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) programme. Currently, as the Senior Research Fellow at OUCRU Ha Noi, she has dedicated her career to unravelling the complexities of this silent but deadly threat.

Dr Huong‘s leadership journey began in 2018 when she established the AMS team at OUCRU Ha Noi. With a PhD in public health from the University of Oxford and a passion for improving patient outcomes, she set out to build a team that would tackle the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. 

“I was determined to create a team that was not only skilled in research but also passionate about making a difference,” says Dr. Huong. “I wanted to foster a culture of collaboration, innovation, and excellence.” 

Her ascent from a dedicated scholar to a leading expert in antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a journey of personal growth and strategic leadership. “At first, I was overwhelmed,” she admits, recalling the shift from academia to leading a complex research programme. Yet, through challenge and change, she has emerged as a driving force in the global effort to safeguard the future of antibiotic treatment. 

Photos: Dr Huong sharing her work in antimicrobial stewardship at international conferences

Through her participation in the Make a Difference programme, Dr Huong gained valuable leadership skills in coaching, emotional management, and effective communication. She applied these skills to her team, creating a supportive and empowering work environment. 

“The programme helped me develop the confidence and abilities to lead my team effectively,” says Dr Huong. “I learned how to increase my credibility, motivate my staff, and create a cohesive and productive work environment.” 

Dr Huong shares her experience participating in the Make A Difference Programme

However, the most memorable thing she gained during the Make a Difference Programme wasn’t the leadership skills, but the connections she made along the way. She recalled a workshop when she had incubated dengue fever. Despite her illness, Dr Huong continued to participate in the workshop, determined to make the most of the opportunity. 

“I was touched that everyone [from OUCRU] called to check on me,” she said. This experience taught Dr Huong the importance of self-care and work-life balance. She realised that in order to be an effective leader, she needed to prioritise her own well-being. By taking care of herself, she could better serve her team and the cause she was fighting for. 

Under Dr Huong’s leadership, the AMS team has made significant contributions to the fight against antimicrobial resistance. They have developed and implemented effective interventions to reduce antibiotic use and prevent the spread of resistant bacteria in healthcare settings.  

Dr Huong’s team at a recent National AMS Workshop hosted by OUCRU Ha Noi and partners

Dr Vu Thi Lan Huong’s story is one of inspiration and impact. Her work and leadership at OUCRU are not just about the present; they’re about making hospitals safer and ensuring a healthy future. As she continues to lead, innovate, and inspire, the ripple effects of her dedication to public health and antimicrobial stewardship will be felt for years to come. 

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