Jiancheng Ye (he/him)
PhD Candidate, Health Sciences Integrated PhD Program
Jiancheng Ye is a PhD candidate in the Health Sciences Integrated PhD Program in the Feinberg School of Medicine. He received biomedical engineering training from Tsinghua University in China and health informatics training from Johns Hopkins University. Jiancheng is dedicated to improving the cardiovascular health of vulnerable populations both in the United States and globally through health informatics, implementation science, and translational research. He enjoys interdisciplinary research that uses technology to combine engineering and medicine to improve people’s health and quality of life.
How would you describe your research and/or work to a non-academic audience?
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a leading risk factor of cardiovascular disease (CVD) morbidity and mortality in high-income countries, such as the United States, as well as many low and middle-income countries. There are more than 1.4 billion people worldwide who have hypertension, and less than half of adults (42%) with hypertension are diagnosed and treated. Approximately only 1 in 5 adults (21%) with hypertension have it under control. I am working with several international teams to develop intervention packages and data-driven approaches to improve the diagnosis of hypertension and management.
Tell us what inspired your research and/or work.
Health disparities exist around the world in both the prevalence of chronic diseases and in their management. Uncontrolled hypertension is particularly acute in vulnerable populations. Hypertension is not an inevitable consequence of aging, but once it develops, it often requires costly, lifelong treatment with medication. When I collect and analyze the data from electronic health records, I know that every number in the database may represent a long and bitter story of someone fighting for their life. This sense of mission motivates me to become an empathetic researcher to improve people’s health and quality of life.
What do you find both rewarding and challenging about your research and/or work?
The complexity and rise of data in healthcare and medicine are facilitating the application of informatics (e.g., artificial intelligence and data science) and implementation science within the field. I have been able to work with an interdisciplinary team of mentors and team members spanning multiple backgrounds. This diverse environment has been a catalyst for breakthroughs and innovations in my research. The challenging but exciting part is integrating the various fields effectively and leveraging their unique advantages to achieve my goals.
What is the biggest potential impact or implication of your work?
My dissertation research findings will be translated and communicated to inform health policy, practice, and public opinion for improving hypertension prevention and management. The interventions and implementation strategies will be adopted in primary care centers in resource-limited settings in both high-income countries, as well as low and middle-income countries. My work may provide a unique example that demonstrates the potential benefits of a global, multilateral approach to improving chronic disease management and health care.
What did you originally want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to become an Olympic athlete when I was a child. Even though I didn’t achieve this dream, playing sports, as a lifelong habit, has been beneficial to my research and life.
Tell us about a current achievement or something you're working on that excites you.
I am fortunate to be the first Northwestern student who received the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) Trainee Leadership and Education Awards Donation (LEAD) Award. I serve as a member of the Student Editorial Board of the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. I am a member of the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee. This year, I worked with Drs. Mark Huffman and Lisa Hirschhorn on a primary care study and it was awarded the Northwestern Global Health Research Catalyzer Funding.
What are you most proud of in your career to date?
We are facing the most serious global public health emergency yet this century. Every country has been making painstaking efforts to fight the pandemic. Like the motto of the 2022 Winter Olympics, “Together for a Shared Future,” international cooperation will be a powerful weapon to solve many problems in healthcare. My research provides an example that aligns well with international, national, and institution-level missions for health care. Specifically, part of the United Nations’ sustainable development goal states that by 2030, we reduce by 1/3 premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being. The American Heart Association’s health equity goal for 2024 states that we advance cardiovascular health for all, including identifying and removing barriers to healthcare access and quality. By 2030, the American Heart Association has set a goal of increasing global life expectancy. One of my favorite phrases is “We are waves of the same sea, leaves of the same tree, flowers of the same garden.” I hope to make my contributions to health care as a small wave of the sea.
Published: March 22, 2022
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