August 8, 2012
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Bahr Weiss, PhD, Vanderbilt Associate Professor of Psychology and Human Development and Vietnamese-family-300x225.jpgVECD US Site Director for sites in Vietnam has been awarded a NIH Fogarty International Center / NIMH NCD (Non-Communicable Diseases) Lifespan D-43 award, Increasing Mental Health Research Infrastructure in Southeast Asia. This new grant, which began July 20th, 2012, builds on Weiss' and his colleague's ongoing collaboration within Vietnam National University (VNU), and is focused on enhancing the Clinical Sciences program in Vietnam by supporting VNU research, education, and training in mental health research.

The ultimate goal of this award, is to permanently increase research capacity in Southeast Asia – primarily in Vietnam and Cambodia but also secondarily in Laos and ultimately other Southeast Asian LMIC – in regards to developing culturally-appropriate, research-based treatments for mental health problems; planning, designing, and conducting intervention trials to empirically evaluate these treatments as well as address secondary questions (e.g., determining mediators of treatment effects); and disseminating research results so as to favorably impact on service provision. These endeavors represent a continuation of two Vanderbilt-VNU ICOHRTA grants (D43-TW05805: Training Child Intervention Researchers in Vietnam; D43 TW007769: Development of a PhD Clinical Sciences Program in Vietnam). A central focus of this project has been development of a research-oriented graduate Clinical Sciences (clinical psychology) program at the School of Education, Vietnam National University in Hanoi; to date, three cohorts of masters students have been enrolled, with the first cohort currently graduating. The Ph.D. program is slated to open in 2014.

VNU’s Clinical Sciences program will be supported for further development of VNU faculty in regards to research, clinical, instructional / mentoring, and administrative expertise and through the development of a Subspecialty in Trauma and PTSD. Another significant aspect of this program expansion will be the broadening of the geographical impact of the program within Southeast Asia as well as within Vietnam. This award will allow the program to increase the geographical diversity of the graduate students based within Vietnam, by supporting students who live a significant distance from the university. Additionally Vanderbilt and VNUE will collaborate with the Psychology Department at the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP), Cambodia to enhance their graduate program in Clinical Psychology and Trauma Treatment, by providing training for RUPP faculty at VNU, technical support around curriculum development, and supporting small collaborative student research projects.

Bahr Weiss, PhD, Vanderbilt, and his research team have been funded by NIH and working together in Vietnam since 2001. His team currently has five active NIH grants being implemented in Vietnam, plus an ARRA training supplement and a Fogarty Fellowship, and he serves as PI on a domestic child intervention R01 grant and co-PI on another R01 child intervention grant in the U.S. Dr. Weiss is PI on a five-site NIH funded project (R01 MH077697, Cultural Effects on Stress, Coping, and Symptom Expression) assessing the effects of cultural factors on the relationships between stress, coping, and mental health symptom manifestation in U.S. and Vietnamese adolescents, and has extensive experience in managing large, multi-site international projects.

Vietnam National University and Danang Psychiatric Hospital are fellowship sites for the VECD Global Health Consortium.