Topics in Health Policy in Korea and China


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  • Wankyo Chung

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The prevalence of obesity for adults aged 19 and over in Korea has risen from 25.8% in 1998 to 35.5% 2016, while it is still low compared with other developed countries. Body mass index (BMI), focusing on weight for a given height, has traditionally been used to define obesity despite of its shortcomings of not distinguishing between muscle and fat, being inaccurate in predicting the percentage of body fat (PBF), and being not a good measure for the risk of heart attack, stroke, or death. Another measure of abdominal obesity, the z-score of the log-transformed A Body Shape Index (LBSIZ), has been recently introduced to focus on waist circumference for a given both weight and height. We examine their respective association with the risk of diabetes using a cohort data from the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study.

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Wankyo Chung is a Professor in the Department of Public Health Science, Graduate School of Public Health at Seoul National University, Seoul Korea. His research interests include economic evaluation of health care programs, equity in health, health policy, and prevention. He has been active as a board member of the Korea Expert Committee on Immunization Practices at Korea CDC, the Information Disclosing Council at Korea HIRA, and an editorial board member of the Korean Journal of Health Economics and Policy and the KDI Journal of Economic Policy. His work has been published regularly in leading international journals. He is currently studying risk prediction models for diabetes at the CEAS, Stanford.

Last few years, China have implemented several national initiatives, for example, the National Healthcare Improvement Initiative (NHII) launched in 2015, to improve patient experiences in healthcare, harmonize the relationship between patients and healthcare workers (i.e., doctors and nurses), and decrease medical disputes in public hospitals. However, reports of medical disputes and violence (verbal abuse or physical violence) against healthcare workers in tertiary public hospitals are still making headlines in China. To help understand and tackle these problems, based on a three-year longitudinal study (2017-2019) conducted in six leading tertiary public hospitals in Shaanxi, a west province of China, we try to depict these problems’ changes, identify the healthcare workers who are at a high risk of medical dispute and violence from patients or their families, and explore the potential causes. These findings could help governments and hospitals protect healthcare workers with more pertinence and build a better medical environment in China.

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Jinlin Liu joins the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center as visiting scholar during the 2019-2020 academic year from Xi'an Jiaotong University, where he serves as a researcher for the Research Center for the Belt and Road Health Policy and Health Technology Assessment. His research lies in the areas of health system and health policy in China, with emphasis on the public hospital governance and development of human resources for health. He obtains a Ph.D. in Public Administration from Xi'an Jiaotong University in 2018.