Fellowship Site Directors:
Bahr Weiss, PhD (Vanderbilt University)
Lam Trung, MD (Danang Psychiatric Hospital)
Minh Hoang Dang, PhD (Vietnam National University)
Donna J. Ingles
Site specialties: mental health, substance use
- Access to a broad range of patient populations suitable for ethical, hypothesis-driven research. Current and potential research opportunities include depression management, somatization, and treatment in Vietnamese youth, post-traumatic stress disorder, the effects of urbanization on child mental health, and substance and drug abuse.
- Vietnam National University (VNU) is the largest multi-disciplinary, higher education and research organization in Vietnam, generally recognized as the top university in the country.
- VNU has seven university-level research centers (i.e., research centers not affiliated with a specific school) that provide broad-ranging opportunities (e.g. for FMRI imaging studies).
- The VNU Center for Research, Information, and Service in Psychology (CRISP), directed by Dr. Minh, fosters the application of psychological knowledge through research, training, and evidence-based treatment services.
- Danang Psychiatric Hospital (DPH) is the third largest psychiatric hospital in Vietnam, located in the fourth largest city in Vietnam. It includes adult male and female inpatient units, an inpatient alcohol and substance addiction treatment patient unit, a forensics unit, a combined inpatient and day treatment child and adolescent unit, an assessment unit, and an outpatient unit.
Vietnam National University, Hanoi (VNU), is the largest multi-disciplinary, higher education and research organization in Vietnam, and is generally recognized as the top university in Vietnam. As it reports directly to the Office of the Prime Minister, VNU has the independent authority to work directly with ministries, governmental bodies, and international organizations. There are approximately 1,400 faculty, supported by more than 1,000 administrative staff.
VNU has seven university-level research centers, as well as a number of centers located within its various schools and colleges, including the Center for Research, Information, and Service in Psychology (CRISP Center). CRISP’s mission is to promote and foster the application of psychological knowledge through research, training, and evidence-based treatment services. It is affiliated with the Vietnamese National Library, which is the largest library in the country. VNU is not only the top university in Vietnam, but has connections throughout the country, including to the Hanoi Medical University and the main psychiatric hospitals, particularly the Danang Psychiatric Hospital (DPH), with which it collaborates on a variety of projects.
As the third largest mental health institution in Vietnam, the DPH has separate adult inpatient units for males and females, an inpatient alcohol and substance addiction treatment unit, a forensics unit, a combined inpatient and day treatment child and adolescent unit, an assessment unit, and an outpatient unit. It thus provides access to a broad range of patient populations for research purposes. It has a staff of 41 psychiatrists, 8 psychologists, and 83 nurses. The DPH also houses the Center for Mental Health Research, which coordinates the research activities of the hospital. As part of the Danang Department of Health, which is under the Ministry of Health, the DPH has direct connections to 58 government psychiatric facilities in the country and can use the resources of these facilities if needed for national-level studies. It is the top mental health research institute in Vietnam in terms of foreign language resaerch reports and grant funding, and has connections across disciplines (e.g. collaborations with the Danang Oncology Hospital) and across the country (e.g. provides training in psychological methods for depression treatment to the National Psychiatric Hospital).
- VNU has actively established relationships with foreign partners, including more than 135 universities and educational organizations around the world. They welcome foreign professors and scholars and are part of a number of international collaborative networks, including the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonia (AUF), Southeast and South Asia and Taiwan Universities (SATU), the Asean University Network (AUN), the East Asia Four Universities Forum (BESETOHA), the University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific (UMAP), and the Association of Southeast Asian Institutions of Higher Learning (ASAIHL).
VNU has four training and research centers, including the Center for Natural Resources and Environmental Studies, the National Defense and Security Training Center, the Center for Physical Education and Sports, and the Center for Urban Studies. VNU also has a number of research institutes and participates in collaborative projects with affiliated schools in Hanoi and throughout Vietnam.
Both VNU and DPH have hosted postdoctoral fellows through VECD and other training programs, and VNU is the site of an NIH D43 Training Program grant to develop a doctoral-level Clinical Sciences Program in Vietnam, focused on child intervention research.
The DPH has a number of meeting rooms, offices, etc. that are available for research purposes. The DPH has close connections to the University of Danang (e.g., the Director of the DPH, Dr. Lam Trung, teaches at the University of Danang), with trainees from the University often participating in research at the DPH. As the third largest mental health institution in Vietnam, DPH has a staff of 41 psychiatrists, 8 psychologists, and 83 nurses. It has adult male and female inpatient units, an inpatients alcohol and substance addiction treatment unit, a forensics unit, a combined inpatient and day treatment child and adolescent unit, an assessment unit, and an outpatient unit.
VNU, the top university in Vietnam, recently opened its own medical school and medical center, providing further opportunities for VECD trainees. The Center for Research, Information and Service in Psychology (CRISP) at VNU is directed by Dr. Minh and fosters the application of psychological knowledge through research, training, and evidence-based treatment services. VNU has seven university-level research centers as well that provide a range of opportunities for trainees.
Together, as a major educational institution (VNU) and a major medical facility (DPH), these sites provide trainees with opportunities to collaborate with a wide range of mentors and to obtain access to a broad range of patient and non-patient populations, ideal for ethical, hypothesis-driven research. Our team has developed and supports two Internal Review Boards (IRBs), one at VNU (U.S. FWA#: 00018223) and one at DPH (U.S. FWA#: 00011251), through which our trainees have their projects reviewed.
Current and potential research opportunities include studying:
- cultural influences and the effects of interpersonal violence (domestic abuse) on mental health functioning of Vietnamese and Cambodian women
- culturally tailored substance abuse prevention and intervention programs, ranging from tobacco to alcohol to heroin
- the effects of urbanization (a major but understudied issue in LMICs) on child mental health
- school-based mental health prevention and intervention programs
- advantages and disadvantages of the use of the internet for adolescent mental health support
- international barriers to global health development in Vietnam
- a continuing study of the long-term physical and mental health effects of exposure to frequent natural disasters in coastal central Vietnam
- depression treatment and management
VECD trainees have the opportunity to collaborate with VNU graduate students and further develop their own mentoring skills.
Funded projects include:
Cultural Effects on Stress, Coping, and Symptom Expression
(NIH R01 MH077697, PIs: Weiss, Trung)
The purpose of this project is to identify cultural influences on relations between stress, coping, and mental health symptom manifestation and mental health help-seeking in 1,000 Vietnamese and 1,000 Vietnamese-American adolescents; funding from Vanderbilt University, VNU, and UCLA has extended the cultural range of the sample to include 1,000 Euro-American adolescents. Data collection for this project is complete, and it now offers opportunities for VECD trainees to immediately begin working on global health research projects and manuscripts, rather than having to wait for their own data to be collected.
Increasing Mental Health Research Infrastructure in Southeast Asia
(NIH D43 TW009089, PI: Weiss)
The purpose of this project is to increase capacity in Southeast Asia, primarily in Vietnam and secondarily in Cambodia, in regards to developing culturally appropriate, research-based treatments for mental health problems, conducting trials of these treatments, and identifying factors influencing successful program dissemination. The focus of this project has been on developing the VNU PhD program in clinical psychology as the sustainable infrastructure to develop and support this research. In the past, VECD trainees have been involved in the various research projects linked to this grant via program faculty. They have also had opportunities to be involved in various graduate and other trainings, providing important learning opportunities.
VECD and site staff will help trainees to find appropriate accommodations during their fellowship year. Cost of housing varies greatly, depending on the quality and location of the accommodations, from rooms in nearby houses to modern apartments to long-term hotel stays. Vietnam is a highly stable country, both politically and socially. One of the greatest dangers is for pedestrians. High quality health care is available at several foreign-run hospitals in the Hanoi area.
Ngoc Tran, MD, PhD, MS
Kunmi Sobowale, MDc
Tam Nguyen, MD