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Bringing equity to rural health care

Breakthrough star Peiyin Hung studies maternal health disparities

Peiyin Hung stands outside a building

Peiyin Hung joined USC’s Arnold School of Public Health in 2018 after a postdoctoral fellowship at Yale University. An assistant professor of health services policy and management, Hung explores maternal health and rural health disparities.

Big picture. About 60 million people live in rural America, where many residents suffer disadvantages in access to health care, have higher mortality risk and lower quality of life.

Research background. Hung’s dissertation was motivated by the decline in access to obstetric care and looked at nationwide hospital-based obstetric unit closures and how that affected maternity care access, quality and outcomes.

Modus operandi. As a health services researcher, she is driven to advance health equity through productive, insightful research collaborations by using administrative health records, survey data and stakeholder interviews.

Breaking it down. Hung’s work integrates three aspects: building statistical models using Big Data Science to simulate health care delivery processes; investigating the underlying mechanisms of spatial-temporal differences in health care access and health outcomes; and identifying effective health policy interventions to address health disparities.

Policy and progress. Hung’s studies in rural maternal and birth outcome disparities have been cited to help the movement of a White House Maternal Health Blueprint and Rural Action Plan, as well as bipartisan legislation, “Improving Access to Maternity Care Act.”

“While I have explored rural health issues across the age spectrum, publishing on issues examining both the beginning and the end of life, I have developed a particular specialty in maternal health and policies that can affect perinatal care access, quality and outcomes. I started with maternal and child health because I believe that the process of childbirth is fundamentally important to one’s health and well-being. What has kept me in rural maternal health research with an unwavering determination is the eagerness to know and to eliminate rural maternal health disparities.”


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