The Pamela and Kenneth Fong Graduate Student Fellowship
2011-12 Fellowship Recipients
Lijia Xie is a M.S./M.D. candidate in the UC Berkeley–UCSF Joint Medical Program, a program that provides a new approach to medical education by offering early exposure to interdisciplinary perspectives, with strong emphasis on the humanities and social sciences in medicine. Lijia earned her B.A. from UC Berkeley summa cum laude in May 2009 majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on gender and health in China. Throughout her undergraduate career at UC Berkeley Lijia served as a HIV Test Counselor at the Berkeley Free Clinic and as an intern with various health-related non-profits, including the Suitcase Clinic and the China Global Aids Fund. A Robert and Colleen Haas Scholar, Lijia received UC Berkeley's Roselyn Schneider Eisner Prize for Poetry (best collection).
Support from the Fong Fellowship will allow Lijia Xie to conduct research on mental health counseling for young women who live in China's rural areas. China has one of the world's highest rates of female suicide. Suicide rates are among young women (age 20-24) who live in China's rural areas are five times greater than in the general population. Causes have been attributed to low social status, forced/arranged marriages, domestic abuse, restrictive family planning policies, limited opportunities in rural life as well as the lack of access to psychiatrists, counselors, physicians and suicide prevention specialists. Lijia Xie's research will focus on the provision of community-based mental health services for young rural Chinese women. She plans to spend two summers (2011 and 2012) in Qianxi Country, Hebei Province working with a Chinese psychologist to observe, chronicle and analyze approaches to mental health counseling. Her analysis will form the basis for her master's thesis in the UCB-UCSF Joint Medical Program.
The Pamela and Kenneth Fong Graduate Student Fellowship will also continue to provide support for Guojun He, the 2010 recipient of the Fong Fellowship. Guojun is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at UC Berkeley. His research interests include health economics, environmental economics, and applied econometrics. He graduated from the Department of Economics at Peking University in 2008. While a student at Peking University, he published several articles in leading Chinese journals, and won several student awards for creativity and academic performance, as well as the first prize in two national research competitions. At UC Berkeley Guojun's research interests have focused on health issues in the developing world. The Fong Graduate Student Fellowship allowed him to travel to China in summer 2010 to collect water quality data from water quality monitoring sites and infant health data from the Center for Disease Prevention and Control in the PRC. His research findings established a clear causal relationship between water pollution and infant mortality.
Guojun He will continue his research on the different causes of infant mortality in China. His new study – to be completed during 2011/12 academic year – focuses on the effects of air pollution. He plans to use the 2008 Beijing Olympics as a natural experiment. To fulfill its international commitment to maintain high air quality during the Olympic Games, the PRC government implemented a set of stringent policies, reducing traffic, halting large-scale construction projects, and shutting down polluting factories in and around Beijing. The combination of these measures resulted in dramatically improved air quality in Beijing and its neighboring cities. Guojun plans to investigate whether the improved air quality in and around Beijing can be linked to lower infant mortality rates in 2008. This paper will form the basis for his doctoral dissertation.