George Yang Wins LDI Undergrad Health Services Research Prize

George Yang Wins LDI Undergrad Health Services Research Prize

Dual Degree Freshman at Penn Nursing and Wharton School

George Z. Yang, a freshman in the dual degree Nursing and Health Care Management program at the University of Pennsylvania, has won the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI) 2017 Undergraduate Health Services Research Prize.

The annual award recognizes a student who has demonstrated a high level of interest and initiative in the area of health services research and health policy analysis.


George Z. Yang, student in both Penn's Nursing and Wharton Schools.

The award is a collaborative program with two other research-oriented Penn Centers --  the Jacobs Levy Equity Management Center and Mack Institute for Innovation Management -- that have also worked with the Wharton Undergraduate Division to establish similar prizes to foster the development of student researchers.

The LDI prize includes the opportunity to be mentored by LDI Senior Fellows, invitations to conferences that bring together top academic scholars, invitations to LDI's research and policy seminars with a chance  to meet the speakers, and the potential to otherwise network throughout the year with some of the field's leading experts.

"It's exciting to be part of this and work alongside Penn professors who are such authorities in their fields," said Yang. His current mentors are Penn Nursing School professors Mary Ersek, PhD, RN, FPCN, Professor of Palliative Care who specializes in developing best practices for end-of-life care for veterans and other nursing populations; LDI Senior Fellow Matthew McHugh PhD, JD, MPH, Associate Director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research (CHOPR); and the Wharton School's Arnold Rosoff, JD, Professor Emeritus of Legal Studies and Health Care Management and LDI Senior Fellow. 

Inspirational experience
On family trips to China during his high school summers, Yang visited a small clinic run by his physician uncle in a low-income area of Zhejiang province. He cited the experience as one of the inspirations that sparked his interest in health care.

A member of the class of 2020, Yang will graduate with a bachelor degree in both Nursing and Health Economics. He said he chose nursing because it provided such direct interaction with patients.

The Arizona resident is a graduate of the Basis Scottsdale Charter High School and previously worked as an intern in both the Mayo Clinic's Department of Radiology and the Garcia Research Program at Stony Brook University.

Mayo Clinic mentor
In her letter to LDI, Vice Chair of Research at the Mayo Clinic Department of Radiology Christine Zwart, PhD, said that after the high school senior completed his unpaid internship, he was invited to continue as a paid intern. She noted that "We have medical doctors doing unpaid research internships on a regular basis. If we pay summer interns, it generally isn't until the graduate level."

A National Advanced Placement Scholar, Yang in 2015 won the ASM Materials Education Foundation Award for best materials engineering project at the Arizona State Science & Engineering Fair. The winning project, which was part of his lab work at Stony Brook, involved experiments in how best to desorb DNA from specific materials.

Yang was also the winner of the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Award of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) whose mission is to "shine a spotlight on brilliant students and encourage the pursuit of academic excellence at all levels."