2017 CHPAMS Rising Scholar Best Paper Award

 It is our pleasure to announce that the 2017 Rising Scholar Best Paper Award is granted to “Tuberculosis Detection and the Challenges of Integrated Care in Rural China: A Cross-sectional Standardized Patient Study”, published by PLoS Medicine in October 2017.  The authors for the winning paper are: Sean Sylvia, Hao Xue, Chengchao Zhou , Yaojiang Shi, Hongmei Yi, Huan Zhou, Scott Rozelle, Madhukar Pai, and Jishnu Das.

CHPAMS established the Rising Scholar Best Paper Award in November 2016 to recognize outstanding peer review publications authored by CHPAMS members who are in their early career stage (either current students or within five years since receiving their last academic degrees). The application for the 2017 Award was open from Oct 2017 to Dec 2017.  A six-member Award Committee (see list below) completed a thorough and independent review of all applications and unanimously selected the paper by Sylvia et al. as the winner for the 2017 CHPAMS Best Paper Award.

The winning paper, “Tuberculosis Detection and the Challenges of Integrated Care in Rural China: A Cross-sectional Standardized Patient Study”, presents the results of a large-scale survey of village, township, and county-level health facilities across three provinces employing unannounced standardized patients to assess the ability of rural providers to correctly diagnose and manage a case of presumptive tuberculosis (TB). Such evidence is important given that, despite substantial progress against the disease at the national level due to improved treatment of diagnosed cases, prevalence remains high in rural areas and the large majority of TB cases are undiagnosed by the health system. The findings have important implications for recent reforms aimed at encouraging first contact with lower tier providers in the health system. Specifically, the results suggest that without improvements in the quality of primary care at lower tiers, such reforms could undermine further progress against TB in China.  

The paper’s lead author, Dr. Sean Sylvia, is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Health Policy  and Management, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill.  He is also a research affiliate at the Rural Education Action Program (REAP) based at Stanford University. Before moving to UNC, he spent three years as an Assistant Professor in the School of Economics at Renmin University in Beijing. He received his PhD in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of Maryland in 2014. Dr. Sylvia has collaborated for nearly ten years with researchers at several institutions in China on research aimed at finding policy solutions to health and education challenges in China’s rural areas. His current main area of work focuses on measuring and evaluating approaches to improve the quality of primary care, with specific focus on implications for the design of recent health reforms.



Dr. Sean Sylvia