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The Pamela and Kenneth Fong Graduate Student Fellowship

2015-16 Fellowship Recipients

Hsin-Tien (Tiffany) Tsai is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Economics. She earned her undergraduate degree at National Taiwan University where she received the Presidential Award in the Department of Economics.

Project description:
Physician Incentives in Gatekeeper Omission: Evidence from Coronary Artery Disease Diagnosis in Taiwan
Annual National Health Expenditure (NHE) in Taiwan rose from $74 billion in 1991 to nearly $321 billion in 2013, almost five times growth since the inception of National Health Insurance (NHI). One of the reasons for the rising expenditure is the supply side moral hazard - patients do not have information on their own condition, so they cannot determine whether the treatment recommended by physicians is necessary. The provider may be favoring certain treatments for their own private benefit. In response, the Taiwan government has designed supply-side restrictions to reduce medical utilization. NHI’s payment system shifted from fee-for-service to the Diagnosis-Related Group payments system (Tw-DRG) beginning in 2010. Under the DRG payment system, prices are fixed to predetermined piece rates for services based on diagnosis and historic average treatment costs for patients discharged within this system. Hsin-Tien Tsai is researching the impact of this supply-side restrictions system and its effect on a patient welfare.


Juliet Nadeau Lu is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management. Her undergraduate degree is from Oberlin College with a double-major in East Asian Studies and Politics.

Project description:
Development Partner or Resource Predator? Chinese Rubber Plantations in Laos
Development cooperation is an emerging focus in Chinese foreign policy. Unlike its Western counterparts who traditionally provide community-level outreach and aid, China’s development initiatives emphasize large-scale, business-oriented resource extraction. This is exemplified by China’s Opium Replacement Program (ORP), established in 2004 in response to rising opium use in China. China’s ORP seeks to reduce opium cultivation in Myanmar and Laos, and its subsequent trade into China, by creating alternative livelihoods for opium cultivators, predominantly through rubber cultivation. The program is unique from Western approaches to development, however, for the central role Chinese companies play in its implementation and for its support of large-scale plantations over smallholder initiatives. But debate remains as to whether rubber will benefit Laos as it did Yunnan, and whether Chinese companies can act as agents for development. Juliet Lu will research this by conducting a comparative approach on the political economy of rubber in Yunnan, China to that in Luang Nmtha, Laos. She has spent extensive time living and working in China (Bejing and Kunming) as well as Laos and has strong language skills in Mandarin as well as Lao.


Continuing Support in 2015-16:
The Pamela and Kenneth Fong Graduate Student Fellowship will also continue to provide support for Jenna Hua and Peiting C. Li both of whom were first selected for the Fong award in spring 2014.

Jenna Hua is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Public Health whose research interests center on global environmental health, with a focus on assessing the prevalence of obesity in developing regions of the world. Hua is a registered dietitian and has worked at the Infectious Diseases Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and the Greater Los Angeles Veteran Health Care System. Her research is also supported by the Fulbright Program. Hua holds an M.S. in Public Health and a B.S. in Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics, both from UC Berkeley.

Project description:
Social and Chemical Obeogens Exposures Among Adolescents in Kunming, China
Jenna Hua was originally awarded the Fong Graduate Fellowship in 2014 to research the rapid pace of environmental change, urban development and Westernization of diets that is occurring in many developing regions of the world. Her research utilizes and integrates smartphone and Internet data to develop and validate new methodologies in assessing diet and physical activity patterns and built environment exposures, and to examine the diets and obesity risk of adolescents living in a rapidly evolving urban food environment in China. Jenna expanded her research by examining the social aspects of the evolving food environment by studying content on the popular Chinese Internet search engine — Baidu. By using Baidu’s existing software interfaces, Jenna can data mine some of the social aspects of the food environment, which will help her to look into how people make dietary choices, how these choices affect their obesity risk and ultimately provide insights that could be useful in designing potential future strategies to promote healthy dietary behaviors and prevent obesity. Building on this initial research Jenna plans to use the 2015 Fong Fellowship as seed funding to explore chemical aspects of the urban food environment by assessing the levels of endocrine disrupting chemicals in food.

Peiting C. Li is a Ph.D candidate in the Department of History whose research focuses on the history of Chinese science and medicine in the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries. Li earned her B.S. from Georgetown University in Foreign Service and her M.A. in East Asian Languages and Cultures from Columbia University.

Project description:
Western Pharmaceutical Medicine in Republican Shanghai, 1920-1949
Peiting Li’s research asks how and why did Western pharmaceutical medicine make inroads into the medical market of early to mid-twentieth century Shanghai. By 1936, Shanghai accounted for 73% of imported Western medicine. Peiting looks into why Chinese physicians and patients chose standardized, industrially-produced, synthetic drugs over an indigenous regiment of lifestyle choices and herbal drug prescriptions. Her research engages with key concerns in history of science and medicine in China, business history, and history of print culture.


In previous years the Fong Fellowship supported:

2013-14:
Carol Peng, Ph.D candidate, School of Social Welfare
Alexsia T. Chan, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Political Science
Bios and project descriptions at: http://ieas.berkeley.edu/ccs/awards_fong_2013-14.html

2012-13:
Liang Bai, Ph.D. candidate, Economics
Anna Zimmermann, M.S. candidate, Department of Global Health and Environment
Bios and project descriptions at: http://ieas.berkeley.edu/ccs/awards_fong_2012-13.html

2011-12:
Lijia Xie is a M.S./M.D. candidate, UC Berkeley–UCSF Joint Medical Program
Guojun He, Ph.D. student, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
Bios and project descriptions at: http://ieas.berkeley.edu/ccs/awards_fong_2011-12.html