Thu Nguyen, ScD, MSPH

Title(s)Associate Specialist, Epidemiology & Biostatistics
SchoolSchool of Medicine
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    Collapse Biography 
    Collapse Education and Training
    Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthScD, Social Epidemiology2014Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences
    University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public HealthMSPH, Epidemiology2009Department of Epidemiology
    Collapse Awards and Honors
    2016  - 2018American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship

    Collapse Overview 
    Collapse Overview
    My research focuses on the impact of social factors on health across the lifespan. I am interested in studying modifiable factors for which interventions can be designed to promote health. For my undergraduate honors thesis at Stanford University, I pioneered a study utilizing quantitative and qualitative methods to examine patient experiences at the Pacific Free Clinic (PFC) in San Jose, CA. At UNC, I worked on the evaluation team of the Baby Love Plus Program, a program implemented in 14 counties in North Carolina to provide greater access to prenatal care and social services to Medicaid eligible women. I helped to assess whether racial ethnic disparities in preterm birth, low birth weight, and infant mortality were reduced following program implementation. I continued my work examining the complex relationship between social factors and health by investigating the impact of education on dementia risk, depressive symptoms, and mortality for my doctorate dissertation at the Harvard School of Public Health. Education is an established correlate of cognitive status in older adults, but whether expanding educational opportunities would improve cognitive functioning remained unclear given the limitations of prior studies, particularly unmeasured confounding and reverse causation. Therefore, I implemented instrumental variable (IV) analyses of the association between years of education and dementia risk using newly discovered genetic variance linked to education as well as state-level school policies as instruments.

    In my postdoctoral work, I investigated the impact of neighborhood level resilience factors on basic and instrumental activities of daily living. Specifically, I sought to determine whether low neighborhood physical disorder, high neighborhood safety, social cohesion, and social ties reduced the incidence of instrumental and basic activities of daily living (I/ADLs) limitations and whether these relationships were modified by memory function or race.

    In my current work, I am using 2008-2014 data from the Health and Retirement Study, a national longitudinal study of adults age 50 years and older and their spouses, to prospectively examine the impact of discrimination on biomarkers of cardiometabolic risk--HbA1c, cholesterol, blood pressure, and C-reactive protein (CRP). I am also investigating whether the magnitude of the association between discrimination and these biomarkers differ by attribution of discrimination (e.g. age, race, gender, financial status) and whether modifiable factors can mediate the relationship between discrimination and cardiometabolic risk.

    I hope to become a leading independent researcher, conducting innovative research examining the effects of social factors on health across the lifespan.

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    Collapse Global Health

    Collapse Bibliographic 
    Collapse Publications
    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Researchers can login to make corrections and additions, or contact us for help.
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    1. Nguyen TT, Vable AM, Glymour MM, Nuru-Jeter A. Trends for Reported Discrimination in Health Care in a National Sample of Older Adults with Chronic Conditions. J Gen Intern Med. 2018 Mar; 33(3):291-297. PMID: 29247435.
      View in: PubMed
    2. Nguyen TT, Tchetgen Tchetgen EJ, Kawachi I, Gilman SE, Walter S, Glymour MM. Comparing Alternative Effect Decomposition Methods: The Role of Literacy in Mediating Educational Effects on Mortality. Epidemiology. 2016 09; 27(5):670-6. PMID: 27280331.
      View in: PubMed
    3. Nguyen TT, Rist PM, Glymour MM. Are self-reported neighbourhood characteristics associated with onset of functional limitations in older adults with or without memory impairment? J Epidemiol Community Health. 2016 10; 70(10):1017-23. PMID: 27154180.
      View in: PubMed
    4. Rist PM, Nguyen TT, Whitmer RA, Glymour MM. Modifiable risk factors for nursing home admission among individuals with high and low dementia risk. Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2016 Jul-Aug; 65:140-5. PMID: 27023177.
      View in: PubMed
    5. Nguyen TT, Tchetgen Tchetgen EJ, Kawachi I, Gilman SE, Walter S, Liu SY, Manly JJ, Glymour MM. Instrumental variable approaches to identifying the causal effect of educational attainment on dementia risk. Ann Epidemiol. 2016 Jan; 26(1):71-6.e1-3. PMID: 26633592; PMCID: PMC4688127 [Available on 01/01/17].
    6. Liu SY, Walter S, Marden J, Rehkopf DH, Kubzansky LD, Nguyen TT, Glymour MM.Genetic vulnerability to diabetes and obesity: Does education offset the risk. Soc Sci Med. 2015; (127):150-8.
    7. Nguyen TT, Hawkins SS. Current state of US breastfeeding laws. Matern Child Nutr. 2013 Jul; 9(3):350-8. PMID: 22236439.
      View in: PubMed
    8. Vines A, Nguyen TT, Ta M, Esserman, D, Baird D. .Self-reported daily stress, squelching of anger, and the management of daily stress and the prevalence of uterine leiomyomata: the ultrasound screening study. Stress and Health. 2011; 3(27):188-194.
    9. Kaufman JS, Nguyen TT, Cooper RS.Race, medicine, and the science behind BiDil: how ACE-Inhibition took the fall for the first ethnic drug. The Review of Black Political Economy. 2010; (37):115-130.
    10. Le HV, Schoenbach VJ, Herrero R, Hoang Pham AT, Nguyen HT, Nguyen TT, Muñoz N, Franceschi S, Vaccarella S, Parkin MD, Snijders PJ, Morrow RA, Smith JS. Herpes simplex virus type-2 seropositivity among ever married women in South and north Vietnam: a population-based study. Sex Transm Dis. 2009 Oct; 36(10):616-20. PMID: 19617867; PMCID: PMC2901908.
    11. Nguyen TT, Kaufman JS, Whitsel EA, Cooper RS. Racial differences in blood pressure response to calcium channel blocker monotherapy: a meta-analysis. Am J Hypertens. 2009 Aug; 22(8):911-7. PMID: 19498341.
      View in: PubMed