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Interview: Meaningful research for health policy making
by Eui Kyoung Yoon (ekyeun@dreamdrug.com)
Published : Oct 19, 2014 02:53:24
Better insurance coverage, disease prevention, and lawsuits against tobacco products are all supported by this government organization. It is National Health Insurance Policy Research (NHIPR) under National Health Insurance Service (NHIS).

Kang Ha Ryum, senior researcher, NHIPR, says in an interview with DailyPharm, “I wanted to do something meaningful for public health policy and happened to hear about NHIPR. When I started working here, I got many encouragements. It was more than I expected. I got surprised.”

NHIS is the only health insurer that covers the whole country. Its data is just huge. Exploring and analyzing those data may be one of the most exciting jobs for researchers.

Kang says, “I thought I would provably work on insurance issues, but it was total misunderstanding about my job. I do researches on welfare, disease prevention and control, and nicotine addiction as well as general public health issues.”

Kang is proud of her research outcomes that can affect the government’s policy decisions. She says her research is very accurate because it is always assisted by related departments of the government that exercise actual policies.

Kang’s research projects are divided into two. One is an annual collaborative research planned by NHIPR and the others are year-round closed research projects initiated by the government’s requests. Sometimes she should run more than five projects in addition to her regular daily jobs.

She remembers two research projects on how Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement will affect the national health insurance and negative impacts of smoking to the national health insurance.

Kang says, “Those subjects were sensitive, so it wasn’t easy to go through the researches. I had to work on weekends to search literatures. The projects took up to 2 months. I ran several dozens of cases to construct realistic scenarios.”

Her pride is producing significant data that can be used for public policy making. It is not a pure academic research, but a practical powerful research to help our daily life.

Kang pointed, “Outsiders may ask why we do researches whose outcomes are just as expected. But conformation is one of important outcomes. It supports a certain policy and finally makes it happen.”

Kang has been with NHIPR for two years. Her undergraduate major was food and nutrition in Seoul National University. She acquired her master’s and doctorate degrees in public administration later and joined NHIS.
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