HPS Residency Program: Training a New Generation of Health Policy Researchers

Professor Bill Hsiao leading a training session.

CMB in cooperation with the government's National Health and Family Planning Commission’s Center for Health Statistics and Information has launched a new program on strengthening research capacity of the next generation of Chinese scholars in health policy and economics. From July 22-28, the Commission's Center on Health Statistics hosted a training workshop that brought two distinguished international professors, Professors Winnie Yip of Oxford University and Bill Hsiao of the Harvard School of Public Health, to instruct teams from 6 medical universities on the first of several research steps to study the performance of China's county hospitals.

Advancing health quality and equity are key challenges for China’s national health care reforms, which began in 2009. Like medical residency that imparts practical training, this program has been named a "residency" because students and instructors actually pursue together the design, data collection, and analysis of data—a practicum on research design, methods, and analysis. Participants consist of multidisciplinary teams from a half dozen medical universities, including CMB’s Rural Network schools, will together undergo this experiential learning in health policy research.

Research is crucial to producing policy ideas that can improve access to high-quality healthcare to the greatest number of people. According to Winnie Yip, China’s young scholars are very bright but lack systematic knowledge and command of research methods. The “on-the-job” training teaches them how to design and conduct HPS research.

The teams have returned to their home universities to work on data collection for research projects focused on China’s county hospital reforms, including issues of hospital management, quality, efficiency, and access. The second in-person training session will be held this coming winter.