University of Nebraska Medical Center

Hongmei Wang, PhD: Research in Socioeconomic Determinants of Health and Economic Evaluation of Health Care Programs

Spotlight on Research at COPH – Dr. Wang’s research interests focus on socioeconomic determinants of health and health-related behaviors, medical care expenditures and insurance coverage, and economic evaluation of health care programs and medical intervention strategies. She is particularly interested in examining how individual choices, organizational schemes, and sociocultural structures collectively influence population health.

Dr. Wang has been working on projects exploring the protective effects of social capital on health and health-related behaviors. By distinguishing trust from mistrust in measuring social capital, she and her colleagues examined the unique pathways that link social capital at different levels to individual health status. Recently, Dr. Wang has been collaborating with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, the Douglas County Health Department, and community organizations to evaluate and examine the effects of intervention strategies on promoting healthy lifestyle behaviors, reducing obesity, and screening for chronic disease risk factors. Dr. Wang worked with the Douglas County Health Department on several Centers for Disease Control grants, including the Community Putting Prevention to Work and Community Transformation grants, directed toward community-wide obesity reduction efforts. In these grants, she served as the lead evaluator to examine the effects of the interventions in promoting physical activity, healthy eating, and screening for chronic diseases. She also worked with Live Well Omaha Kids to evaluate programs promoting physical activity and healthy eating, and with Building Healthy Futures to examine the effects of school-based health centers in promoting health and health care access among low-income children.

Dr. Wang’s interest in medical care expenditure focuses on examining the cost implications of various types of insurance coverage. She conducted studies examining the features and implications of medical expenditure with the introduction of a Health Savings Account in an urban city in China. Dr. Wang has been working with colleagues from the Department of Health Promotion, Social and Behavioral Health and the Department of Epidemiology at UNMC to examine end-of-life costs of cancer patients with Medicare coverage.

As a health economist, Dr. Wang also works extensively with investigators across the UNMC campus collaborating on economic evaluation activities. Economic evaluation activities that Dr. Wang has conducted include a return-on-investment analysis of implementing a Health Information Technology Network in Hebron, Nebraska; a cost-effectiveness analysis of service delivery of an Aftercare Program for School-Aged Youth departing Out-of-Home Care; a cost-effectiveness analysis of a symptom-management intervention improving physical activity in older women following coronary artery bypass surgery; and an analysis of the cost implications to the state as a result of streamlining the provision of effective rehabilitative services to juveniles on probation in Nebraska.

Hongmei Wang, PhD, is an assistant professor in the UNMC/COPH Department of Health Services Research and Administration.

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