Hongyun Fu

Offers student research opportunities

research overview

  • I am a behavioral health epidemiologist and an associate professor at the Division of Community Health and Research (CHR), Department of Pediatrics, Eastern Virginia Medical School.

    My first contribution to science lies in my research and program experiences addressing maternal and child health, sexual and reproductive health promotion in vulnerable populations. I received my doctorate from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in 2008, with a concentration in reproductive health and population. I have conducted a range of analyses examining how the social and cultural environments (e.g. poverty, racial disparities and gender-based power imbalance) influenced women's vulnerability to negative sexual/reproductive health outcomes. I led the design and implementation of a comprehensive community-based HIV/STI intervention program targeting socially marginalized populations, using innovative behavioral change communication, harm reduction and social marketing approaches. Capitalizing on existing national survey data as well as administrative data from the electronic medical records collected in health care systems, I have led a series of studies to address social and racial disparities on sexual and reproductive health, maternal and child health in the United States, using multi-level analysis and systems dynamic modeling approaches.

    My second area of contribution to science is in research and program intervention addressing drug abuse and related harm reduction. Prior to joining PSI/China in 2010, I worked at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences' Psychiatric Research Institute in several NIH/NIDA-supported programs addressing drug/substance abuse among youth. I contributed my social science and public health training and expertise with structural equation modeling and provided statistical analysis support to the program, including the use of Compiler Average Causal Effect analysis to account for the effect of program compliance on behavioral outcomes. Most recently, I led the design and implementation of a comprehensive HIV prevention and harm reduction program using innovative methodologies, including peer-led needle/syringe exchange program, HIV rapid testing and counseling, drug use overdose prevention and naloxone rescue, psychological counseling, relapse prevention, and the use of motivational interviewing strategy to break the cycle of drug injection initiation. We also employed state-of-the-art program evaluation methodology, including time-location sampling and respondent-driven-sampling methods, coarsened exact matching analysis, and structural equation modeling.

    Research addressing the health consequences of population migration is my third area of contribution to science. In addition to my master's thesis, which examined the connection between temporary population migration and HIV prevalence discussed above, my doctoral dissertation investigated the impact of international migration on the mental health of Vietnamese immigrants in the U.S. I addressed the longstanding problem of "selection effects" with a natural experiment research design, involving population-based samples of Vietnamese immigrants to the U.S.; individuals who were involuntarily repatriated to Vietnam; and individuals who had never left Vietnam. In addition, I employed structural equation modeling strategy to examine the pathway of associations between migration and mental health, and identified significant mediation effects of social networks and physical health on the migration and mental health connection.


  • Dr. Hongyun "Tracy" Fu joined the Community Health and Research Division at the EVMS' Department of Pediatrics in 2014. Prior to that, she was China Country Program Manager of the USAID-funded CAP-3D HIV Intervention Program and Program Director for Population Services International (China) where she led implementation of programs using harm reduction and behavior change communication and social marketing approaches. Dr. Fu received her doctorate from Tulane University's Department of International Health and Development in 2008. Her dissertation research examined the health impact of Hurricane Katrina on Vietnamese immigrants in New Orleans and the influence of international migration on the mental health of Vietnamese immigrants. Dr. Fu has had over a decade of experience in research and program interventions addressing maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS prevention, sexual and reproductive health, immigrant health, and the behavioral treatment of illicit drug use and harm reduction. She has been involved in research and intervention programs funded by NIH, USAID, UNFPA, the Global Fund and the Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League. Her current areas of research focus are how social, cultural and contextual environments affect drug/substance use, sexual behaviors and health outcomes in women, youth and other vulnerable groups. Dr. Fu is currently a PI of comprehensive sexual education program funded by the Virginia Department of Health under the Federal Title V funding mechanism. She is a co-investigator in an NIH/NIDA funded longitudinal study addressing the causes and public health consequences of synthetic drug abuse. She have led a range of other research and programs addressing sexual and reproductive health, maternal and child health issues affecting U.S. populations, including (1) the evaluation of Baby Basic Moms Club - a prenatal education program in Virginia funded by the March of Dimes, (2) An infant safe sleep study addressing the causes of unsafe sleep in low-income families in Hampton Roads, 3) A second analysis of VA Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) and National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) to explore disparities in SRH and MCH affecting low-income populations in the United States; 4) A secondary analysis of Sentara EPIC electronic medical records to tackle the opioid epidemic in Hampton Roads, in partnership with the March of Dimes, Virginia Department of Health, the Consortium of Infant and Child Health, and the Minus 9 to 5.

selected publications

preferred title

  • Associate Professor

full name

  • Hongyun Fu, PhD

recognition and awards

  • 2016- Award for Outstanding Contribution in Reviewing American Journal of Preventive Medicine
    2015- Award for Excellence in Abstract Submission for All Presenters
    2015- American Public Health Association Annual Meetings, Chicago, IL
    2014- Travel Award, Mekong Region Development and Research Workshop
    2008- Nomination "Delta Omega National Honorary Society in Public Health For outstanding dissertation, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA
    2004- Recipient, "Excellent Student Presentation Award-Doctoral Level" Presented at the Third International Conference on Urban Health, Northeastern University, Boston, MA
    2004- Recipient, "Best Student Panel Speech Award" Presented at the Annual College of Health Sciences Research Day, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA
    2002- Recipient, "Graduate School Summer Scholarship" Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA


Publications in VIVO