Faculty Highlight – Li-Wu Chen, MHSA, PhD, Associate Professor and Interim Chair, Department of Health Services Research & Administration
Dr. Li-Wu Chen received a Master of Health Services Administration degree from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and a PhD degree in Health Policy & Administration from the Pennsylvania State University. He grew up in Taiwan and received a Bachelor of Public Health degree from the National Taiwan University.
Trained as a health economist, Dr. Chen has directed and conducted research projects in the areas of cost and efficiency of health care organizations, cost-effectiveness of health care programs, health insurance coverage, utilization of and access to health care, quality of health care delivery, and public health services and systems research. He was the deputy director of the RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis (funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy) from 2004 to 2010 and has been the interim director of the UNMC COPH Center of Health Policy Analysis & Rural Health Research since 2010. Through these centers, Dr. Chen’s work has helped inform policy makers at both the state and national levels about the organization, financing, and delivery of health care, especially in rural communities. His current research focuses on the examination of structural capacity, workforce development, partnership building, resource allocation, quality improvement, and accreditation strategies of local health departments. He has received several grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to study these public health systems issues, especially in the context of regional public health systems in Nebraska. In the area of teaching, Dr. Chen has developed and taught the courses Health Economics (master’s level) and Integrated Seminar of Economics and Health Services Research (doctoral level).
Dr. Chen is currently the co-principal investigator of the Nebraska Public Health Practice-Based Research Network (PBRN), which includes members from the College of Public Health at UNMC, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Association of Nebraska, local boards of health, and local health departments in Nebraska. The Nebraska Public Health PBRN is one of 12 state PBRNs sponsored by the RWJF. The Nebraska PBRN has successfully identified and implemented several research projects that are relevant to the practice and policy communities in Nebraska. Dr. Chen is the director of the Nebraska Rural Health Works project, which has produced and published health economic profiles for many Nebraska counties. These profiles have informed the leaders and practitioners in local communities about the impact of the health care sector on the local economy. Local health care organizations have used this information for their strategic planning.