Health services policy and management (HSPM) assistant professor Dr. Peiyin Hung (University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health) has been selected by the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) to join the 2019 cohort of the organization’s Rural Health Fellows Program. Designed to prepare emerging rural health experts for leadership roles in advancing the health of rural America, the program consists of one year of intensive training.
With an overarching goal to advance health equity, Dr. Hung can trace her interest in the field to her childhood. She was at her grandmother’s bedside, just before she died in a large, impersonal medical center, when her grandmother explained the feeling of being invisible to hospital personnel.
“My grandmother, who had only a high school certificate, said ‘you have to be highly educated to be seen,’” Dr. Hung remembers. “My grandmother’s last words were my first personal experience with healthcare disparities.”
Eleven years later, Dr. Hung’s first substantive research experience helped further shape her career path. In 2005, after completing a bachelor’s degree in the health services administration department at Chung-Shan Medical University in her native Taiwan, she conducted a year-long research project assessing the impact of bedside technology (e.g., computerized physician order entry). She found that these technologies benefit younger patients but increased mortality among older adults.
“Meanwhile, I realized that describing differential policy effects across populations highlighted the importance of attention to equity, disparities and vulnerable subpopulations in evaluations of clinical interventions and the consequences for patient care,” Dr. Hung says. “I therefore devote my lifetime to health services research to advance health and healthcare for all.”
[Photo: Dr. Peiyin Hung]
In 2008, Dr. Hung traveled to the United States to attend a certificate program in medical management at the University of Washington followed by a master of science in public health at Emory University. After graduating with a PhD in health services, research, policy, and administration from the University of Minnesota in 2017, she moved across the country for a third time to gain additional research experiences as a postdoctoral associate at Yale University.
This fall, Dr. Hung made her fourth cross-country move to join the Arnold School’s health services policy & management (HSPM) department. One of the reasons she chose to join UofSC is the Arnold School’s dynamic teaching and research environment, which complements her own interests.
“The opportunities on teaching doctoral-level health services research allow me to employ my interactive, example-based teaching approach to help students develop the ability and confidence to critically assess health policy issues in an innovative and rigorous manner,” Dr. Hung explains. “My passion for teaching comes from the joy I take in watching students develop the skills for health services research in the classroom and the knowledge that they will be able to apply them in their lives and careers. As an educator, I seek to assist students as they transition to higher education both academically and culturally and to help them learn to think critically about health systems and health policy.”