Research Areas

Social Science Training and Research (STAR) II Program and Data

STAR II is the competitive continuation of the Social Science Training and Research (STAR) Partnership, and will build on the platform for the realization of policy-relevant social science and HIV research created by the successful implementation of STAR I.  STAR II is emblematic of Mailman’s partnership approach to global health work and draws upon the strengths of the Sociomedical Sciences Department’s interdisciplinary policy-engagement research strategies within the field of HIV, and will create research opportunities in Vietnam for faculty across Columbia University. It is co-sponsored by Mailman’s Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Hanoi Medical University (HMU), and the Vietnam Public Health Association (VPHA), with funding from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development.

The aim of creating a national center of excellence in social science approaches to HIV prevention, treatment and care in Vietnam, set out in STAR, has been fulfilled by the Department of Medical Ethics and Social Medicine (DMESM) and the Center for Research and Training on AIDS (CREATA) at Hanoi Medical University. To support the development of evidence-based HIV prevention and AIDS-care policies in Vietnam, however, there is still crucial work to be done. Advances need to be made to build the capacity of the Vietnamese social science research community, support HMU as the emerging national hub of activity for this community, strengthen and integrate the network of social scientists working on HIV across Vietnam, and facilitate their engagement with the global scientific community.

STAR II aims to enhance the infrastructure for development, realization, and dissemination of research at HMU; use innovative technologies and collaborate with other training initiatives to support ethical public health research; and amplify national efforts to integrate social science with HIV research.

STAR II’s focus is on the HIV epidemic’s effect on highly vulnerable populations, such as men who have sex with men (MSM), injecting drug users (IDUs), and commercial sex workers (CSWs). There is a need for national evidence-based policy surrounding HIV and for research on how to effectively implement such policies. We are also interested in exploring how fluctuations in donor priorities affect the sustainability of HIV policies and programs in Vietnam so that whatever policies are created have the most positive, lasting effect The infrastructure core activities at HMU will support an enhanced IT platform for research, provide training in funding mechanisms and the craft of grant-writing, and build capacity in theoretically-grounded interdisciplinary social science and HIV research, including developing (in collaboration with the Columbia Population and Research Center and the Center for Health Systems Research at HMU) a Health Data Repository to enhance access to and analytic work on population-level data sets. Lastly, through a journal-to-journal partnership between Global Public Health and the Journal of Medical Research, Vietnam's flagship venue for biomedical and health sciences research, we hope to support the implementation of key improvements in the journal’s scientific and administrative processes. The infrastructure core also emphasizes research ethics, working with the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI at University of Miami) and Fogarty-funded AIDS training programs to support the translation of such online programs into Vietnamese. Drawing on the expertise of Columbia’s Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health, modules in public health ethics will also be translated and contextually adapted to be used by research teams across Vietnam.

The public datasets for the STAR II project can be found in the right hand navigation.

To view the STAR II project page, follow the link here.