Hanoi prof selected for alumni award

With a strong start right out of the blocks, Bach Tran (PhD '11) has been selected as the first recipient of the School of Public Health's Alumni Early Career Award.

Donna Richardson - 20 September 2017

When School alumnus Bach Tran (PhD '11) was appointed associate professor at the Hanoi Medical University in 2016, he became the youngest person in the history of the institution to hold the title.

In just six years, Tran has set up a stellar research group, supervising and / or mentoring more than 50 medical students and master of science graduate students from around the world. Working together with scholars in North America, Europe and Asia, his interdisciplinary research program aims to improve the efficiency of health systems and health services.

With such a strong start right out of the blocks, it is fitting that Tran has been selected as the first recipient of the School of Public Health's Alumni Early Career Award.

"Dr. Tran has clearly risen to the top of his field in public health," says Carl Latkin, professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who mentored Tran during his postdoctoral fellowship and supported his award nomination.

According to Latkin, Tran already has an international reputation, having been published in several highly regarded journals, such as the Lancet and Bulletin of the World Health Organization, and receiving numerous national and international awards. He is highly regarded for his ability to attract and work with both researchers and policy makers. Using strong diplomatic skills, Tran has become a leader in innovative approaches to public health. For example, "He has led both national and international consortia on using m-health [a term describing the use of mobile phones and other wireless technology in medical care] technologies for data assessment and interventions," explains Latkin.

Nguyen Huu Tu, vice-president and secretary of the Vietnam Young Physicians Association, describes Tran as an asset. He points to Tran's work in health economic modeling of HIV/AIDS and substance abuse interventions that helped inform sound policy development in large drug-injection HIV epidemics as an example of his many early career contributions.

When asked how he brings people together to work on public health issues, Trans says, "Engaging partners, developing a shared vision, balancing the interests of others, and mobilizing resources and support are key elements of success in public health research and practice." He adds, "I'm grateful that the School taught me these core principles."

In addition to his academic work, Tran is active in promoting bilateral ties between Vietnam and Canada, serving as executive board member of the Vietnam-Canada Friendship Association. "The Association promotes mutual understanding, friendship and sociocultural exchanges that support sustainable development," explains Tran, who also holds an adjunct appointment at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

In his letter of support, Huu Tu describes Tran, the recipient of Vietnam's Outstanding Young Physician in 2016, as charismatic, credible, creative, curious and confident. "His work is like a catalyst of change in public health education and practice."

The Alumni Early Career Award is one of several anniversary awards created to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the School of Public Health in 2016. This award recognizes the outstanding contributions of a School of Public Health alumnus(a) within 10 years of receiving their graduate degree.