Introducing Tianyang Liu & Xiaoning Hao: Gender Difference in Family Health Care for the Elderly in China

In this blog post Tianyang Liu and Xiaoning Hao introduce themselves and provide some background information to their study.

Tianyang Liu & Xiaoning Hao

13 April 2015

Tianyang Liu & Xiaoning Hao are recipients of RinGs’ small research grant and are currently working for the China National Health Development Research Centerin addition to being a part of the Future Health Systems Research Consortium (FHS). Their project is titled: “Gender Difference in Family health Care for the Elderly in China”.

Tianyang Liu

I earned my MHS in Health Economics from Johns Hopkins University in 2013. After working for half a year in the International Vaccine Access Center in the United States, I came back to China and am now working as a research associate at the Department of Risk and Public Health, China National Health and Development Research Center. The research environment in China is very different, but China is a country experiencing tremendous change and development, especially in the public healthcare area. For example, the new rural cooperative medical system is being implemented with refinements; and the one child policy is disappearing year by year.

Our department focuses on the health risks among the aging population in China. China has more than 200 million elderly people, accounting for around 15% of the country’s total population. Of these, three in four elderly people have a chronic health problem, and almost one in four have a disability or difficulty in functioning. Care giving within households is the foundation of health systems, especially for the elderly population in China. But does a gender difference exist among care receivers and caregivers in family health care?

Between 2010 and 2013, our department conducted the “Health and Social Support of Elderly Population in Community” survey, aiming at analyzing the social support of senior citizens in China by examining their social network within communities in Beijing.

Based on the data from this survey, we aim to answer questions like: “Is there a difference in the care received by male and female elderly in relation to whether they have male or female children, or in laws? In addition, through qualitative interviews, we aim to answer questions such as: “What are the reasons that cause the difference? What are the implications of this for them and the health system, particularly within an aging population, many of which only have one child?”

The findings will give us a real picture of the elderly family care situation from a gender perspective, and will enlighten policy making to share the responsibility of family in taking care of elderly parents to some extent. For example, we hope to provide the government with policy suggestions encouraging restarting the one-child allowance of elderly parents when they reach 60 years old, subsidizing the elderly booking family health care from professional institutions, or encouraging them to take the family health care service of elderly into the national health insurance scope. This is actually quite an ambitious goal that may be hard to achieve, but by involving government officials, scholars, and public in the study process, will at least improve their understanding of attention on gender equity within households in taking care of the elderly.


Xiaoning Hao

Hao Xiaoning got her PhD degree in management in 2007 in Shandong University. She is now the Director of Public Health and Risk Management Research Center of NHDRC, and the part-time professor and Supervisor of Renmin University of China.

Her research area includes health economics, public health policy, risk management and health-ageing. And she has conducted several studies including a study focusing on building the health aging policy system in China, a study focusing on building the rehabilitation and nursing system for the elderly in China, a study focusing on Health Emergency Monitoring and Early-Warning System, a study focusing on the Knowledge, Attitude, and Practice and the Effect Evaluation of the Influenza Vaccine among Health Human Resource, and a study focusing on Building a Risk Assessment Mechanism of Health Policy Making.


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