The East-West Center is exploring whether risks and perceptions of risk associated with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI)—caused by the H5N1 virus—are associated with transitions that occur as societies evolve from one state of development to another. The project explores this question in Vietnam, based on a "lived-place-based" unit of analysis. This is a novel way of looking at HPAI and similar health risks, suggesting that these risks are not an accident of time and place, but rather are linked to processes of modernization.
This research is designed to help develop basic principles and methods for understanding the mechanisms that underlie the emergence of new and reemerging infectious diseases, involving complex interactions within and among natural and human systems. Research will add to the fundamental knowledge base of several interdisciplinary fields, including geography, ecology, systems theory, environmental science, and risk perception. The outputs will enhance the capabilities of researchers, practitioners, and policymakers at local, national, and regional levels.
This project brings together a multidisciplinary team of specialists from the East-West Center, the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and the Hanoi University of Agriculture in Vietnam. It also includes the participation of graduate students in an Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). These students work in the fields of ecology, conservation, and pathogen biology.
The international research team will make an important first step towards building local capacity to study a critical health problem in a developing-world context. Since this work is being conducted in conjunction with the end users of the information produced (researchers, policymakers, and poultry owners), the uptake of research findings needs to be rapid and meaningful. Information dissemination resources of the East-West Center will be used extensively to inform larger audiences of the outcomes.
The project is conducted by a multidisciplinary team of scholars with strong records in research, application, and management in urban planning, land-use and land-cover change, biosecurity and waste management, perceptions of risk and environmental change, ecology, remote sensing and geographical data analysis, statistical analysis, and modeling. The team includes:
- Jefferson Fox (Principal Investigator), Senior Fellow, East-West Center
- Melissa Finucane (Co-Principal Investigator), Senior Fellow, East-West Center
- Sumeet Saksena (Co-Principal Investogator), Fellow, East-West Center
- Jim Spencer (Co-Principal Investigator), Associate Professor, Urban and Regional Planning, and Director, Globalization Research Center, University of Hawaii Manoa
- Tran Duc Vien (Co-Principal Investigator), Rector Hanoi University of Agriculture
- Bruce Wilcox (Co-Principal Investigator), Professor, Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology, and Pharmacology, University of Hawaii Manoa
- Dr. Michael Epprecht (Senior Personnel), Research Scientist, Swiss National Center of Competence in Research
- Durrell Kapan (Senior Personnel), Assistant Research Professor, Center for Conservation Research and Training, and Head, Applied Evolutionary Ecology and Population Unit, Asia Pacific Institute of Emerging Infectious Disease, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii Manoa
- Nguyen Huu Nam (Senior Personnel), Dean, Veterinary Medicine Faculty, Hanoi University of Agriculture
- Miguel Castrence, Spatial Technology Specialist, East-West Center
- Nguyen Thi Lan, Lecturer, Hanoi University of Agriculture
- Ian Pagano, Biostatistician, Cancer Research Center, University of Hawaii Manoa
Scientists and students from the East-West Center, the University of Hawaii, and Hanoi University of Agriculture will participate in the project. More than 10 staff members, including research scientists and graduate students, will be trained in data collection and analysis methods.
Spencer, J.H. In press. Urban health transition hypothesis: Empirical evidence of an avian influenza Kuznets curve in Viet Nam? Journal of Urban Health.
Fox, J., Spencer, J. H., Saksena, S., and Nguyen, H. 2011.Periurbanization and planning: Identifying, mapping, and managing periurban communities in Viet Nam. Paper prepared for the workshop on Changing Cities: Linking Global Knowledge to Local Action, 26–28 September. East West Center and Penn Institute for Urban Research.
Kapan, D., S. Bennett, B. Ellis, J. Fox, N. Lewis, J. Spencer, S. Saksena, and B. Wilson. 2006. Avian influenza (H5N1) and the evolutionary and social ecology of infectious disease emergence. EcoHealth 3(3): 187–94.
B.A. Wilcox and R.R. Colwell. 2005. Emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases: Biocomplexity as an interdisciplinary paradigm. EcoHealth 2:244–57.