In an invited commentary published in the International Journal of Health Policy and Management, Dr. Jian Zhang, a professor of epidemiology at Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern University and Dr. Fei Yan, a professor and the chairwoman of the department of social medicine, School of Public Health, Fudan University in China discussed the controversial issues surrounding the concept of avoidable mortality in health service research in general and Shanghai study in particular. The impact of overall social development on mortality may be underappreciated if the declining avoidable mortality is attributable to the improvement of health care system; the innovative efforts of healthcare professionals to use cutting-edge technology and evidence-approved preventive strategies to reduce healthcare cost and improve the life quality of community members may not necessarily come to fruition in death reduction, and might be undervalued, too. More critically, the shape and magnitude of emerging health issues in Shanghai, such as accidents and injuries, pollution-related cancers, may be under-reported. As the crown jewel of the Chinese economy, and one of the world’s most dynamic cities, Shanghai has been making a great stride in both health and overall social development in the past decades, offering a unique lens to scrutinize sustainable and scalable solutions to translate economic growth into better health. Dr. Zhang and Dr. Yan called for more innovative efforts to systematically review the wealth of the successful story and costly lesson as well from Shanghai rising.