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PhD, Population Health Sciences, Chinese Applicant

Updated: May 19

After finishing my undergraduate studies in China in the area of Public Services Administration, I enrolled at the XXXX School of Public Health and will be finishing 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 the advancement of global health, especially with respect to improving access to health care in the Developing World. My central, long-term career plan is to conduct my research in public health for the balance of my professional lifetime, for many decades to come. I look forward to cultivating extensive ties with the academic world, as well as NGOs such as the WHO and the World Bank.

Aging and health policy stand at the very center of my intellectual and professional interests, especially the use of econometric and statistical methods. I have extensive experience with and have worked hard for a long time at the cultivation of both quantitative and qualitative methods and I have conducted 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 of the fact that 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 important factors that would lead me to come to America to study and to give my professional lifetime to public health, particularly with respect to 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 both 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 special, critical focus on China and its inequitable and unwieldy three-tier health system. I am also very much concerned by 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 and completed a research project dealing with 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. In the end, I was most pleased to have contributed meaningful and creative ideas for the improvement of elder healthcare in Shanghai by increasing cooperation among healthcare institutes, nursing houses, and social insurance agencies. I gained many valuable insights into aging studies and went on to broaden my research in this area so as 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 an INDEPTH 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 was able to conduct this study in South Africa, at the same time that I was assisting in HAALSI wave 2. Under the supervision of Drs. XXXX and XXXX, we investigated why a great number of eligible people are not receiving old age and/or 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. Led by Drs. XXXX and XXXX , this project, in particular, helped me to develop solid, qualitative research skills finely honed through extensive practice. Using World Management Survey (WMS), I conducted dozens of interviews with health care practitioners in township hospitals, as well as organizing and supporting the qualitative training that was required in preparation 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 health care reform.

I have been educated in very multidisciplinary programs with a global focus, in both China and the USA, centered on economics, statistics, and global health. This multidisciplinary background has had a profound impact on the development of my career and my research interests on aging and health policy for the elderly in China – as well as other developing countries, especially in Africa. I could not be happier with the intellectual and academic choices that 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 especially 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 that I need to become an influential public health investigator on a global level.

I thank you for considering my application to the PhD Program in Population Health Sciences at XXXX.

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