Young Joo Park

Young Joo Park

Young Joo Park

Policy Analyst -

Young Joo Park is a full-time researcher working closely with the fiscal studies and health teams at the Rockefeller Institute of Government.

Young Joo recently received her doctorate in Public Administration and Policy from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy. Her research focus is on institutional health care disparities, health care finance, and public health insurance. Further, she worked as a data analyst at New York State Department of Health.

‘I enjoy making my data tell a story.’


As a Rockefeller Institute researcher, Young Joo Park focuses on institutional healthcare disparities, healthcare finance, and public health insurance.

She recently earned her doctorate in public administration and policy from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy at the University at Albany.

Park’s doctoral dissertation, “Geographic Disparities in Access to Nursing Home Services: Assessing Fiscal Stress and Quality of Care,” was published in the journal Health Services Research in November 2017.

  • Why did you focus on nursing home location for your doctoral dissertation?

    Although geographic proximity is one important factor for access to healthcare, previous research has not considered the neighborhoods in which nursing homes are located when explaining the disproportionate resource allocation for long-term care. This is an important gap to be filled to further understand the disparities in access to high-quality, long-term care and to promote healthcare equity.

  • What were your findings?

    One chapter of my dissertation explores the financial vulnerability and quality of care of nursing homes. I found empirical evidence that Medicaid dependency of nursing homes and concentration of racial minority residents in neighborhoods are positively related to nursing homes’ fiscal stress, thereby exacerbating healthcare inequality of racial or ethnic minorities.

  • What is your next research focus?

    I am working on a project that examines the effect of the Affordable Care Act on uncompensated care. Although unreimbursed healthcare provided by hospitals (uncompensated care) was $35.7 billion in 2015, there are important unanswered questions:

    • What is the state-level differences in uncompensated care?
    • How does the effect of ACA on uncompensated care vary by the sources of funding?
    • Which institutions and governments bear the burden?

    Rockefeller Institute Director Thomas Gais and I are trying to answer these questions using multiple government data sources such as program and budget data.

  • What is the potential significance for public policy, government, or public wellbeing of your work?

    Millions of Americans still do not have health insurance. This study will advance an understanding of who takes the burden of healthcare for uninsured and how the share of financial burden changes over time in response to policy implementation.

    Further, while the amount of uncompensated care was estimated, little has been known about a wide variety of funding sources (e.g. federal, state, and local governments) for the uninsured. Understanding the burden on each funder is critically important to establish a sustainable and equitable healthcare system. I am hoping this study helps prepare policymakers for the coming financial challenges as the ACA repeal and replace discussion continues.

  • What do you most enjoy about doing research?

    I like reconciling contradictory theories by analyzing appropriate data with rigorous methods. Sometimes there are multiple theories to explain a phenomenon, and I am excited when I test each theory and compare the validity of theories. In addition, I think data analysis is fascinating because it is a deliberative process in finding meaningful messages buried in numbers. For example, administrative datasets, which are not originally collected for research purposes, usually have the merit of providing hidden mechanisms that other research was not able to show. I enjoy making my data tell a story.