A Memorable Summer in Hanoi

Hui-Hsin (Ema) Hsiao
Class of 2024, Master of Science in Global Health Program at Duke Kunshan University

Hui-Hsin (Ema) Hsiao (MS’24) is currently organizing and writing her thesis, with research data collected during fieldwork in Hanoi, Vietnam, last summer.

“The summer of 2023 is a memorable chapter in my life,” she said.

Ema Hsiao

Hanoi, as the capital of Vietnam, serves as the “brain” and “heart” of the nation’s public health policies. Ema’s research project collaborates with Prof. Bach Tran and his team from Hanoi Medical University. Her study focuses on caregivers’ knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) towards the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) vaccination for children under five years.

Ema with Prof Bach Tran’s team

Students are expected to independently drive and manage their research endeavor throughout the whole fieldwork project. In addition to research design, tasks such as determining the budget plan, submitting Institutional Review Board (IRB) review materials, and collaborating with multiple stakeholders, follow a formal research project process.

“Before heading to Vietnam, I learned how to write research proposals, prepare IRB applications, and use Stata for data analysis from the coursework. These skills proved valuable for the preparation and implementation of the field research,” she explained.

Throughout the research project, Ema collaborated with public health researchers in Hanoi. They translated the survey questionnaire into the Vietnamese language, utilizing plain expressions that were easier to understand. Surveys were then distributed to and collected from caregivers at immunization clinics.

Ema piloting her survey questionnaire at the immunization clinics, the Affiliated Hospital of Hanoi Medical Universiy
Ema with her collaborators at the Affiliated Hospital of Hanoi Medical Universiy

“I am fortunate to have the support of Prof. Bach Tran and his team. The local public health researchers, with their experience in conducting population studies in Vietnam, assisted me in contacting immunization clinics and collecting data. Despite being only a few years older than me, they are intelligent, friendly, and diligent. Their dedication inspires me,” she shared.

Hanoi’s summer is steaming, with sudden rains at dawn and the smell of fumes from motorcycles and cars blending on busy streets. Delicious food, cats, cafes, and flower shops are scattered throughout the city.

street view in Hanoi, Vietnam

“Many Hanoians engage in early morning jogging. Health knows no boundaries; it is a common pursuit of mankind. The connections I established and the research experience I gained will continuously stimulate my personal growth,” said Ema.