Hsun-Ta Hsu

Hsun-Ta Hsu


Associate Professor

Research at a glance

Research Topics

Research Summary

Dr. Hsu's research focuses on understanding and addressing health-related needs of homeless populations.


  • PhD, University of Southern California, 2015
  • MSW, University of Michigan, 2008
  • BSW, National Taiwan University, 2004

Research interests

Health; Homelessness; Housing; Social Network; Intervention with Homeless Adults and Youth.

Teaching interests

Program Development and Evaluation; Social Work Research Method; Intervention Development and Adaptation; Homelessness in the US.

Research and scholarly activity

Understanding and Addressing Health-Related Needs of Homeless Populations

Dr. Hsu’s focus is on health and health disparities of homelessness. He investigates both risk and protective factors for this population such as personal characteristics, social network properties, and community environment. His intent is to develop or adapt interventions to meet prominent needs. Dr. Hsu’s dissertation was focused on reduction of HIV risk in homeless men through evidence-based (EB) interventions. From this work, he modified and finalized an evidence-based intervention manual that he plans to pilot within shelter agencies. This intervention aims to increase homeless men’s consistent use of condoms, decrease risky sexual activities, and decrease their number of sex partners. In the process of developing the modified EB intervention manual, he conducted focus groups with both shelter agency providers and homeless men, asking three questions: Is addressing HIV a critical issue for you, is addressing HIV a priority for you, and what should be addressed in an HIV intervention? For homeless men, HIV was both a critical issue and priority to be addressed compared to providers who felt that HIV was a critical issue but not a priority. The providers’ priority was to provide housing for the homeless populations.

In other research, Dr. Hsu investigated perceived safety and security, and resulting effects, of homeless individuals who just transitioned from homeless to permanent supportive housing (PSH). He supplemented an existing project with block-based neighborhood observation data to understand the relationship between the perceived safety and security among individuals transitioned to PSH and the neighborhood characteristics of their assigned housing locations.

Dr. Hsu’s homelessness research has previously focused on large metropolitan areas. He is interested in conducting similar research in smaller, more rural towns and comparing the results to his previous findings. Again, the development of effective evidence-based interventions to address homeless individuals’ health related needs is his ultimate goal.

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