On Thur 21 July, the University of Health Sciences, Ministry of Health in collaboration with LOMWRU held the first Vientiane Science Café event in Laos. More than 50 students and staff of the Faculties of Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Nursing Sciences, Medical Technology, Basic Sciences, and Public Health attended the two hour-long event.
The Café kicked off with a introductory words by Dr Phouthone Vangkonevilay, Vice President of the University of Health Sciences, and LOWMRU Director Prof Paul Newton. Then, Dr Phaik Yeong Cheah, Head of Bioethics and Engagement at MORU, spoke on medical and research ethics. After this, there were lively discussions in Lao, moderated and translated into English by Assoc Prof Mayfong Mayxay, Head of Field Research at LOMWRU, on what makes a research study ethical and consent valid and whether children be involved in clinical research – right into lunch!
Vientiane Science Café is modelled after Café Scientifique where science is discussed in friendly, casual, non-academic contexts like cafes, bars and theatres. The aim is to make science more assessable to the public and to help scientists communicate more effectively about their work. There is a Café Scientifique in Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and now one in Vientiane.
Funded by the Wellcome Trust, Vientiane Science Café was organized by Professors Mayfong Mayxay and Paul Newton.