Dr. Tran Huynh named new Outreach Director - Midwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety Education and Research Center

Dr. Tran Huynh named new Outreach Director

We are excited to announce that Trân Huỳnh, PhD, MPH, a faculty member in the Occupational Hygiene program, has been named the new Director of the MCOHS Outreach Program.
Tran Huynh, PhD

Tran Huynh, PhD

Dr. Huynh has a passion for reaching underrepresented and underserved communities to promote public health and wellbeing.  Her work centers around community-based participatory research and environmental and occupational health with the aim of reducing health disparities. She is a certified industrial hygienist (CIH) with experience helping immigrant-owned, under-resourced small businesses maintain safe work environments.

Dr. Huynh will bring a renewed focus to health equity to the MCOHS outreach program.  Our Center’s outreach efforts will benefit from her tireless dedication to collaborating with academics, nonprofit organizations, and governmental agencies on public policy and programs to remove structural barriers for immigrants to achieve their optimal health and well-being.

Our communications manager recently reached out to Dr. Huynh to ask her about her new role as Outreach Director:

We are so glad to have you join the MCOHS faculty, and leading the Outreach program.  Could you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I was born in Vietnam and immigrated to Minnesota when I was 14. I went to the University of Minnesota for my higher education including my doctoral training in industrial hygiene (now called occupational hygiene) from the Center. I then worked as an assistant professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA for seven years. My years at Drexel University were critical for my community-based-participatory research (CBPR) work with Asian American immigrant salon owners and employees, and African American environmental justice communities. Coming back to the University of Minnesota has been sentimental.

How would you define your role as the new MCOHS Outreach Director?

As MCOHS Outreach Director, I hope to help MCOHS continue to strengthen our relationships with our industry partners, many of whom are alumni of the Center, and focus on expanding our internal capacity to serve small immigrant owned businesses and employees and other environmental justice communities.

Do you have any current highlights or upcoming priorities/projects you want to share?

I have been working closely with Dr. Susan Arnold, MCOHS Director, on developing a strategic plan for outreach and engagement that aligns with the goals I previously mentioned, as well as the objectives of MCOHS, the School of Public Health, and NIOSH.  I am excited about the ideas and initiatives that have been shared among the MCOHS faculty and administrative team.  I am working to prioritize projects that are feasible to do in the short-term and develop fundraising strategies for future initiatives.

I am excited to share that Dr. Susan Arnold and I are co-PIs on a new project that was recently funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of the Investing in America initiative. The goal of the project is to provide technical assistance to local, immigrant-owned Somali and Vietnamese nail salon businesses to help them and their suppliers use safer, more environmentally friendly products and adopt other pollution prevention practices. This project is in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health and two community-based organizations, the Vietnamese Social Services of Minnesota and BeautyWell Project. Funding from this project, combined with current resources for our core outreach and engagement initiatives, will help us expand our internal capacity to do impactful work.  Learn more about the nail salon project in this feature article from the School of Public Health.