After finishing my undergraduate studies in China in Public Services Administration, I enrolled at the XXXX School of Public Health. I will be earning my master’s degree in Global Health and Population this coming May 2019. This is because I am a young Chinese woman who could not be more dedicated to advancing global health, especially concerning improving access to health care in the Global South. My central, long-term career plan is to conduct research in public health and make this the center of my life. I look forward to cultivating extensive ties with the academic world and NGOs such as the WHO and the World Bank.
Aging and health policy are the center of my intellectual and professional interests, especially with respect to econometric and statistical methods. I have extensive experience with and have worked hard for a long time to cultivate both quantitative and qualitative methods. I have done research in such widely varying contexts as China and South Africa. Hence, I have an enhanced appreciation of the importance of context, social, cultural, etc.
I grew up accompanying my mother to hospitals, standing in line waiting to be attended to because my mom was quite ill with a rare disease, nephrotic syndrome. What appeared to me to be the quite dismal nature of access to health care in our country made a big impression on me during my school years. This was one of the critically crucial factors that would lead me to come to America to study and give my professional life to public health with a special focus on China.
I learned a great deal about the differences between public and private sectors in health systems in China while completing internships as part of my undergraduate studies - serving at a private hospital and the Provincial Commission of Health and Family Planning in Shanghai. These internships inspired me to pursue a professional lifetime in public health research with a unique, critical focus on China and its inequitable and unwieldy three-tier health system. I am also concerned about a lack of qualified health practitioners in most primary health centers.
As an undergraduate student taking the course “Design of Healthcare Management Research,” I proposed a protocol. I completed a research project on healthcare policies for elderly patients with chronic diseases in Shanghai. I visited elderly patients and community practitioners in the primary health centers and neighborhood committees and critically summarized elder care policy in Shanghai. Ultimately, I was most pleased to have contributed meaningful and creative ideas for improving elder healthcare in Shanghai by increasing cooperation among healthcare institutes, nursing houses, and social insurance agencies. I gained many valuable insights into aging studies. I went on to broaden my research in this area to complete an undergraduate thesis on the effects of retirement on health.
So far, as a graduate student at XXXX in Public Health, I have been most happy to serve as a research assistant at the XXXX Center for Population and Development Studies, where I had the great privilege of working closely with the project “Health and Aging in Africa: A Longitudinal Study of a Community in South Africa” (HAALSI). My intense interest in the issue of accessibility to health insurance and care in South Africa led me to propose a sub-study under the general rubric of the HAALSI project. Thankfully, I could conduct this study in South Africa while assisting in HAALSI wave 2. Under the supervision of Drs. XXXX and XXXX, we investigated why many eligible people are not receiving old age and disability grants. I developed a qualitative questionnaire, trained my field workers, and supervised the interview process. I will soon be drafting my master’s thesis at XXXX based on these transcribed interviews combined with quantitative data in HAALSI.
This past August 2018, I participated in a research project evaluating the quality and efficiency of hospital management in Guizhou Province, China. Drs led me. This project helped me develop solid, qualitative research skills finely honed through extensive practice. With the World Management Survey (WMS), I conducted dozens of interviews with healthcare practitioners in township hospitals and organized and supported the qualitative training required for our fieldwork. My passion for the subject of aging and health policy in China was further fired by this project, where I learned a great deal about how local health practitioners and government officials think about healthcare reform.
I have been educated in multidisciplinary programs with a global focus in China and the USA centered on economics, statistics, and global health. This interdisciplinary background has profoundly impacted my career development and research interests in aging and health policy for the elderly in China and other developing countries, especially in Africa. I could not be happier with the intellectual and academic choices I have made because they have prepared me well for a long lifetime of in-depth participation in research into global health policies and how they affect health outcomes.
I look forward to continuing to study under Professors XXXX and XXXX, exploring the fields of aging and health policy. I believe that doctoral studies in Population Health Sciences, with an intensive focus on population and family health in developing economies in China and Africa, will provide me with the springboard to become an influential public health investigator on a global level.
Thank you for considering my application for the Ph.D. Program in Population Health Sciences at XXXX.
PHD Population Health Personal Purpose Statement