Vietnam: Public Health Research






















Key Details:

Location: Hanoi, Vietnam

Audience: Undergraduate, Medical

Term: Summer 2019

Application deadline: March 29, 2019, 5:00pm

Project Overview:

The Institute of Population Health and Development (PHAD), located in Hanoi, Vietnam, is a leading Vietnamese public health institute dedicated to advancing population health in Vietnam through research, public health interventions, and training. PHAD’s research portfolio spans several areas of public health, including maternal and child health, mental health, and infectious and non-communicable diseases.  The Global Health Initiative has supported students at PHAD since 2014. Past interns have worked on research initiatives in the areas of maternal child health, environmental health, mental health, and applications of mobile health technologies (mHealth) for disease surveillance. 

GHI Interns will work in PHAD's Hanoi office and might have to travel around Hanoi and its suburbs to conduct the trials as well as data collection.  They will need to work with PHAD’s staff to develop study tools, carry out project activities, design data analysis plans and undertake data analyses, as well as participate in writing scientific papers.

2019 Projects

Vietnam Local Works for Environmental Health

Despite remarkable strides in both economic and health metrics in the last few decades, Vietnam continues to be challenged by a multitude of developmental issues.  Among these challenges, water pollution emerges as a more common and serious problem for Vietnamese well-being, yet solutions for water pollution remain scattered, small-scale, and largely ineffective. The Institute of Population, Health and Development (PHAD) recognizes that local challenges can only be solved permanently and sustainably by the local communities through empowered local capacity and strengthened partnerships among local organizations.  To that end, the program “Vietnam Local Works for Environmental Health” ultimate goal is to strengthen local capacity to best-practically and sustainably address developmental challenges through a learning-by-doing model. 

The focus of the program is to mobilize local resources to sustainably address local water-related health issues in Thanh Hoa and Ha Nam province. In the second year, the program pilots some water supply models in combination with Behavior Change Communication (BCC) campaigns in project communes, as well as some effort to replicate the model in other provinces. Some up-coming activities include a) to deploy the newly-built small-scale water supply systems in Ha Lam commune, Ha Trung district of Thanh Hoa province; b) to conduct community BCC events to promote knowledge, awareness and behaviors of the local inhabitants of Ha Nam and Thanh Hoa provinces in relation to clean water access and use; and c) to pilot the water-related solutions in Ha Giang province.

The Local Works Intern will support PHAD with the following activities:

  • Assess use and efficiency of the newly-built small-scale water supply systems as well as the satisfaction of local people of Ha Lam commune;
  • Design and conduct community Behavior Change Communication (BCC) campaigns in project communes with focus on clean water use, hygiene and sanitation, and wastewater treatment; 
  • Assess use and efficiency of the project’s water-related solutions piloted in Ha Giang province.


mHealth Messaging to Motivate Quitline Use and Quitting (M2Q2)

Cigarette smoking is the number one preventable cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, particularly in low and middle-income countries. In Vietnam, according to the Joint Annual Health Review 2014, there are currently over 50% of men and 2% of women smoke combustible cigarette products. Therefore, reducing the burden of smoking-related diseases by promoting cessation among current tobacco users has been one of the country’s priorities per the Ministry of Health of Vietnam’s policies. In September 2015, the Vietnam Respiratory Society established a Quitline Center in Bach Mai hospital in Hanoi in order to promote smoking cessation.

Aiming to promote access to the Quitline Center as well as to increase access to counseling services and nicotine replacement therapy, the Institute of Population, Health and Development (PHAD) implements the research project entitled “m-Health Messaging to Motivate Quitline Use and Quitting (M2Q2)”. Funded by the Fogarty International Center – National Institutes of Health (NIH), the project is a collaborative program between University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMASS); the Quitline Center, Respiratory Center, Bach Mai hospital; Hung Yen Department of Health and Institute of Population, Health and Development. Project will be implemented in 5 years from February of 2018 to September of 2022 and divided into 3 periods: the first period lasts from February to September of 2018; the second period lasts from October of 2018 to March of 2022 and the third period lasts from April to September of 2022. Four selected communes in this research project are Bach Sam commune (My Hao District); Viet Hung commune (Van Lam District); Tan Viet commune (Yen My District) and Binh Minh commune (Khoai Chau District). The project uses a system to deliver messages through texting to smokers who are not ready to quit smoking. This texting system for Vietnam, and have smokers in Vietnam who have engaged in smoking cessation services and successfully write quit messages for other smokers. Further, we will send smokers novel two-way text messages assessing their interest in using Quitline services.

Some up-coming activities include a) to recruit current smokers to the project, b) work with Quitline Center to recruit smokers who wants to quit smoking; and c) to collect monthly data related to the smokers’ cessation process. To support these activities, the 2019 PHAD intern will assist with the following activities:

  • Perform scoping study of published and gray literature regarding smoking cessation using text messages internationally and in Vietnam;
  • Participate in and conduct in-depth interviews and other recruitment activities with smokers in the up-coming recruitment events;


The student can also design and carry out some small studies to assess knowledge, attitude and behaviors of smokers in smoking cessation or using counseling services, or to design, develop, and pilot a text message cessation system for particular target and / or vulnerable populations based on the current texting system.



This internship is open to undergraduate and medical students with an interest in global health, global mental health, epidemiology, software development, statistics, anthropology, and/or health policy. Specific requirements are as follows:

  • Successful completion of a research methods course or equivalent training;
  • Interest in mHealth, software development, environmental health, or other areas related to the projects;
  • Prior research experience is highly encouraged;
  • Familiarity with basic statistical software packages is highly advantageous;
  • Strong cross-cultural and interpersonal skills;
  • The ability to adapt to changing priorities and demonstrate flexibility while ensuring project quality.

Application Process:

Students interested in undertaking an internship must submit a Global Health Internship Program Application. An updated application and full list of opportunities will be available in early January. Candidates may preference up to three internship sites during a single application cycle and are required to answer a short supplemental question for each site. Candidates are required to submit transcripts, a writing excerpt, and one to two letters recommendation at the time of application. All applications are due on March 29, 2019 at 5:00pm. 

Please direct questions about the program to Anne Sosin, Global Health Initiative Program Director. 


Friday, March 29, 2019 - 5:00pm
Fund type: 
The John Sloan Dickey Center