Image of COH Student MJ Le Vu

First Year COH Student MJ Le Vu is Making Waves in Public Health

April 27, 2023

With considerable research experience, Le Vu will be interning with the World Bank in Vietnam this summer.

As a first-year student at the College of Health, MJ Le Vu ’26 already has some impressive accomplishments under her belt. Originally from Hanoi, Vietnam, Le Vu has five published articles, including one as first author. 

Le Vu took a gap year after high school, where she started her research journey. She conducted her public health research with the Institute of Health Economics and Technology, and has been exploring the intersections of art and health. 

“I volunteered to play the piano in the hospital for 2 to 3 days per week for the past 2 years before leaving for college,” she said, providing an inspiration for an art therapy trial and her research interests.

The art therapy trial was a small-scale intervention in the post-surgery room of a hospital, and “was all about playing music to post-surgery patients for their pain management,” she said. They evaluated patients’ pain using the Memorial Pain Assessment Card, and all patients reported major positive changes in overall mood and moderate alleviation of pain.

Le Vu is the first author of “A Review of the Effectiveness, Feasibility and Acceptability of Art Therapy for Children and Adolescents during the COVID-19 Pandemic,” a systematic review published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. In this paper, she worked closely with her supervisor to assess the potential of implementing art therapy to deal with mental health consequences of the pandemic, she said.

Additional publications include “Severity and geographical disparities of post-COVID-19 symptoms among the Vietnamese general population: a national evaluation” in Scientific Reports, 2023; as well as “The COVID-19 endemic in Vietnam: Contextual considerations and implications” in Frontiers in Public Health, 2023. She’s also been published in JMIR Public Health and Surveillance.

This summer, Le Vu is excited to be returning home for an internship with the World Bank in Vietnam, a full-time, 8 week long opportunity. She will be working in the Investing and Innovating in Grassroots Health Service Delivery project, the objective of which is to improve the quality and utilization of grassroots health services in the project provinces. 

The team will be going to different parts of Vietnam in order to assess how the innovations are working and making changes if necessary, she said. The internship will include administrative work and potentially research opportunities as well. Another benefit of the internship will be getting the chance to spend time with her family, who are all in Vietnam.

This semester at Lehigh, Le Vu, a population health major and architecture studio minor, is taking her population health requirements, including research methods and biostatistics. The architectural studio minor is allowing her to explore further intersections with art and health.

An Introduction to Global Health class in the fall semester with Eduardo Gómez, associate professor, community & population health and director, Institute of Health Policy & Politics made a big impression. 

“We talked a lot about health policies over the world, and it really gave me a lot of insight into how the health services are outside of Vietnam and outside the U.S. I think that was my main inspiration for this internship because the internship was about grassroots health service delivery in Vietnam. So I did get a lot of knowledge and background information from that class.”

Le Vu originally chose to come to the College of Health since she has always wanted to work in the health sector. “I heard about College of Health as the new college in Lehigh University, and I thought it was a very, very good opportunity for me.”

After graduation from Lehigh, Le Vu plans to attend graduate school. She is considering going into health policy, she said.