Staff Profile

The Vietnamese Community Health Promotion Project (VCHPP), or as we are known in the Vietnamese community, Suc Khoe La Vang! (Health is Gold!), was founded in 1986 by Christopher N.H. Jenkins, MA, MPH and Stephen J. McPhee, MD, as a community-academic research unit at the University of California, San Francisco.  Mr. Jenkins and Dr. McPhee co-directed the Project until 2001, when Mr. Jenkins died unexpectedly.  Tung T. Nguyen, MD, who had joined the Project in 2000 as an investigator, then assumed the role of Co-Director. Through the years, our extensive Research Staff have mainly been Vietnamese Americans representing multiple disciplines and areas of expertise. Several of the active Research Staff have been with the VCHPP for more than 15 years: Mr. Ching Wong joined us in 1991 and Ms. Thoa Nguyen in 1992. Mr. Hy Lam joined us in 2000, Khanh Le, MD, in 2004, Ginny Gildengorin, PhD, in 2004, Ms. Minh-Tram (Gem) Le, MHS, in 2006, and Janice Tsoh, PhD, in 2007.

Since 1986, we have conducted a wide variety of community-based assessment, outreach, and intervention research projects.  We have targeted cervical and breast cancer screening among Vietnamese women, tobacco prevention and cessation among Vietnamese men and youth, hepatitis B immunization of Vietnamese children, and hepatitis B testing among Vietnamese adults, colorectal cancer screening among Vietnamese men and women, as well as work in nutrition and cardiovascular risk factors. We have worked in the San Francisco Bay Area, across the state of California, in Washington, DC, in Texas, and in Vietnam. 

To fund this research, we have received nearly 50 grants and contracts for our own and our collaborative work, totaling almost $36 million dollars in total (direct plus indirect) costs. These grants and contracts have come from a variety of agencies: the National Cancer Institute; the American Cancer Society; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the California Department of Health Services; the California Department of Public Health’s Tobacco Control Section; the Northern California Cancer Center; and the University of California’s Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program, Pacific Rim Program, and its Breast Cancer Research Program.

Our Principal Investigators, Co-Investigators, Research Staff and Collaborators have published more than 80 scientific papers relating to health issues for Vietnamese Americans. 

As our projects burgeoned, the number of our staff grew rapidly, and we moved to new office space several times, from 400 Parnassus Avenue, to 25th Avenue and Irving Street, to 44 Montgomery Street, and then to 44 Page Street in San Francisco, CA and for several projects maintained satellite offices in San Jose and Oakland, CA. 

Since 1986, the VCHPP has received invaluable support and feedback from the San Francisco Bay Area’s Vietnamese Community Advisory Board, and, following its institution in 2000, from the Santa Clara County Vietnamese Reach for Health Coalition, which has sponsored some 13 annual Community Forums to bring research results back to the community and to gain direct input from community members on planned intervention strategies. 

The VCHPP has been the recipient of multiple awards and it has been recognized repeatedly as one of the first ethnic-specific programs in the U.S. to target health disparities, to conduct rigorous evaluations of its intervention strategies, and to sponsor remarkably effective community-based participatory research.