About the Asia Health Policy Program


Karen Eggleston with physicians and nurses at Shandong Hospital, China
AHPP director Karen Eggleston (third from left) with physicians and nurses of Shandong Provincial Hospital's endocrinology department in the capital city of Jinan, China.
Photo credit: 
Karen Eggleston

Established in 2007, the Asia Health Policy Program (AHPP) promotes a comparative understanding of health and health policy in the Asia-Pacific region through research, collaboration with scholars throughout the region, a colloquium series on health and demographic change in the Asia-Pacific, and conferences and publications on comparative health policy topics.

“The Asia Health Policy Program is unique: a research program within a world-class university focusing exclusively on comparative health policy in Asia. AHPP aims to provide evidence for addressing key health policy challenges in the Asia-Pacific, from links between poverty and ill health, to improving “value for money” and defining appropriate government and market roles in health systems. We bring researchers to Stanford for on-site collaboration, and create opportunities for Stanford students to conduct research in and about Asia.” - Karen Eggleston, Director, AHPP


Comparative, policy-oriented research aimed at improving healthcare and the overall quality of life across the Asia-Pacific region is at the heart of AHPP’s mission and activities.

AHPP’s leading-edge research involves experts on both sides of the Pacific. Among its current core research initiatives, AHPP is investigating the economic and social implications of Asia’s unprecedented demographic change, especially population aging and gender imbalance in China, as well as examining the determinants of health and health disparities among Asian populations. AHPP is also analyzing evidence on health service delivery and financing in the Asia-Pacific region, such as the impact of expanding insurance coverage, reforming provider payment incentives, and contracting with the private sector. In addition, the program is conducting a comparative analysis of the historical development of health care institutions — like physician drug dispensing and recent reforms to separate it from prescribing.

AHPP also sponsors collaborative initiatives to address critical global health issues including tobacco control, promotion of child health, and control of infectious diseases.

The program is dedicated to training the next generation of health policy experts: undergraduate and graduate students gain crucial research experience by their involvement in AHPP’s research initiatives, as well as invaluable mentoring for their own projects. AHPP has worked closely with students conducting research on topics such as HIV/AIDS intervention programs and blindness prevention in China.


As part of its commitment to publishing high-quality social science research on health policy and demographic change in the Asia-Pacific region, AHPP regularly contributes edited volumes that are distributed widely through the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center’s publishing program. Publications in recent years have included Aging Asia: The Economic and Social Implications of Rapid Demographic Change in China, Japan, and South Korea (2010) and Prescribing Cultures and Pharmaceutical Policy in the Asia-Pacific (2009).

AHPP also runs its own working paper series that is open to scholars and health policy experts around the world. Publishing several works a year, the papers are disseminated to a broad international audience through the AHPP website and the AHPP series with the Social Science Research Network.


Each year, AHPP assembles some of the world’s greatest health policy minds at Stanford to examine focused topics at conferences and workshops, resulting in edited volumes and laying important groundwork for future collaborative research.

In addition, the program organizes numerous public seminars throughout the academic year. Recent topics have included air pollution in South Asia; private health insurance in South Korea; the long-range impact of work-related migration in China; Vietnam’s health policy environment; smoking- and tobacco-related policy in China; and many other important health policy-related issues.


AHPP’s extensive network of affiliates is found throughout the United States and the Asia-Pacific region. Health economist Karen Eggleston directs the program, and is joined by a team of affiliated Stanford faculty, researchers, fellows, and administrative staff who make AHPP’s innovative research and programming possible. The program regularly collaborates with specialists from Stanford’s School of Medicine and the Center for Health Policy/Primary Care and Outcomes Research.

AHPP also frequently hosts visiting scholars, and each year sponsors a postdoctoral fellow and a researcher from a developing country such as Cambodia, Vietnam, or Mongolia.

These visitors and all of AHPP’s affiliates provide the valuable comparative insight that is at the core of its research.

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