Judith Ladinsky. Photo courtesy of University of Wisconsin-Madison Center
Southeast Asian Studies
From Wire Reports
An American professor and an advocate for increased healthcare services for Viet Nam’s rural communities has died from a stroke at age 74.
Before she died, Judith Ladinsky expressed her wish that her ashes be spread in Viet Nam, the country she supported unceasingly since 1980.
As a professor at the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Wisconsin and national chair of the U.S. Committee for Scientific Cooperation with Viet Nam and Laos, Ladinsky visited Viet Nam at least 106 times, after first accepting an invitation from the late Vietnamese doctor Ton That Tung and most recently in January of last year, according to a Sai Gon newspaper report.
During that period, she became one of the best-known Americans in Viet Nam for her dedication to healthcare for rural Vietnamese.
The professor inspired many American scientists to support Viet Nam, especially in the healthcare services in rural areas, which are notorious for lacking doctors and equipment.
She established programs including community health services, post-natal healthcare, surgeries, nutrition education, HIV/AIDS awareness and oncology. Much medical technology was brought to Viet Nam as part of the projects she spearheaded.
And her support was not limited to the field of healthcare. Her contribution involved agriculture, science, social sciences and culture as well.
Since 1989, Ladinsky helped more than 300 Vietnamese students and researchers win scholarships at schools in the U.S. and Canada.
Her home at Varsity Hill in Madison, Wis. is referred to as “Viet Nam Hotel,” by many Vietnamese students and scientists, as it has hosted many of them. Ladinsky held a Thanksgiving dinner party for all the Vietnamese students at the University of Wisconsin.
Ladinsky was a mentor to many Vietnamese students, not only in their studies, but also in dealing with daily life, such as finding apartments to rent and dealing with visas.
Last year, the Wisconsin Network of Peace and Justice named her “Peacemaker of the Year” to honor her long and continuing contributions to Viet Nam’s healthcare system.