Si Xuan, MPH, PhD Candidate
University of Southern California
2019 Research Fellow
Graduation Year: 2020
Tell us about yourself.
I am a PhD student in Pharmaceutical Economics and Policy at USC. Currently I am a research fellow at the Komoto Family Foundation, where I am collaborating with Komoto to evaluate the clinical and economic impact of pharmacist-provided services. Another project I am working on is to investigate the comparative effectiveness of pharmacotherapy for type 2 diabetes. I completed my undergraduate education in economics and Masters degree in public health.
What led you to pursue a PhD in health economics? Was there a particular incident or conversation that you had with someone that led you down this path?
During my Masters program in public health, I worked at the Center for Outcomes Research & Evaluation as a research assistant. I mainly worked on evaluations of healthcare interventions for cardiovascular diseases. I found myself very interested in patient outcomes research. Generating real-world evidence through vigorous research has become very meaningful to me. At that time, I was also motivated to pursue a career in academia, because I enjoyed doing research. My research interests in patient outcomes and career goal in academia led me to pursue a PhD in health economics.
Tell us about a specific moment in the past 12 months when you learned something that you think will be useful for the future.
During my work on the Komoto project, I started to realize that real-world data can be very different from researchers’ hypotheses. For example, in the project, patients from control hospitals might actually receive the intervention because in the real world, pharmacists’ clinical practices are focused on patient care, not on research design. This sometimes makes it difficult to identify a control group. Therefore, we came up with another study design by only using intervention groups. From this experience, I learned real-world data can be very “messy,” and we should always keep this in mind when doing research. It is also important to try out different approaches to methodology to see which is the best fit.
Why did you apply for the Komoto Family Foundation Fellowship?
What particularly interests me is the mission of this fellowship, which is solving real-world problems. Under-served communities have long been suffering from poor access to healthcare services. This research fellowship provides a unique opportunity for me to gain insights regarding improving wellness for under-served communities. Furthermore, the research fellowship also aligns with my research interest in patient-centered studies using claims databases.
What would you like to do after you graduate?
After graduation, I would like to work in either industry or academia as a researcher. It is my career goal to continuously generate real-world evidence on comparative effectiveness of healthcare interventions, treatment patterns, and healthcare utilization and costs.
What do you like to do for fun?
I like going to the beach, enjoying sunshine and ocean views. I also like swimming and snorkeling.