2021 APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Research Prize Application Form

Applications are due May 31 (**Please use this for applying. Send completed version to [email protected]**)


2020 APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Research Prize Results

Dr. Fanghui Zhao was announced the winner of the 2020 APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Research Prize during the virtual High Level Policy Dialogue on Women and the Economy meeting on September 30, 2020 by Malaysia’s Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, Datuk Seri Rina Harun.


Winner of the 2020 APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Research Prize

Dr. Fanghui Zhao (China) is Director of the Department of Cancer Epidemiology, National Cancer Center and Cancer Hospital with the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences. Her research provides a comprehensive analysis on how to tailor the approach to cervical cancer prevention in lower-middle income economies to make it more accessible and affordable. She and her fellow researchers found that in order to be effective cervical cancer screening programs must be tailored to the needs of the target population. In rural China, screening coverage is low, and women may not return for separate diagnosis and treatment visits. The research evaluated various screening protocols under real world conditions, and came to the conclusion that combining services (self-sampling, PCR HPV test and triage based on HPV16/18 genotyping, followed by colposcopy and immediate thermal ablation in a single visit) could be the most efficient screening cascade for underserved populations who may not return for separate diagnosis and treatment visits. This plan reduced costs while increasing compliance for follow up care.


Runners Up for the 2020 APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Research Prize

Dr. Lih Rong Wang (Chinese Taipei) is a Professor in the National Taiwan University's Department of Social Work. Dr Wang’s research explored the positive impact of family-oriented work policies like flexible work schedules and paid parental leave. Her research provided evidence that modern HR policies should adapt win-win strategies, including flexible work schedule, flexible workplace, flexible leave and others workplace flexibility arrangements, and that policymakers need to develop new policies and programs to encourage employers in developing organizational flexibilities in their HR programs without sacrificing employees’ social security benefits, job security and other benefits.


Dr. Dorothy Chan (Hong Kong, China) is Assistant Professor in the The Chinese University of Hong Kong's Nethersole School of Nursing. Dr. Chan's research studied how the efficacy of health programs can be improved by involving stakeholders who can incorporate cultural and socio-environmental components in future interventions. Dr. Chan and her fellow researchers examined how incorporating stakeholders from the South Asian community in Hong Kong into cervical cancer screening programs improved cervical cancer screening uptake among the South Asian community. This type of intervention is particularly important for health programs aiming to deliver better health outcomes for ethnic minorities in communities. 

2019 APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Research Prize Results

The Award Ceremony for the 2019 APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Research Prize took place on October 1 in La Serena, Chile, on the margins of the Women & the Economy Forum. Photos from the event can be found here.


Winner of the 2019 APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Research Prize

Dr. Veronica Ramirez (Philippines) is an Assistant Professor at the University of Asia and the Pacific and the Bank of Philippine Islands Professional Chair for Migration and Overseas Filipino Work. She submitted a research article that investigates common health problems of women Overseas Filipino Workers. The study she conducted finds that foreign employers, migrant associations, health agencies, and practitioners all have a role to play to promote the health of Overseas Filipino Workers, and identifies different ways that each stakeholder can contribute. For example, she suggests that the Department of Health should provide treatment and monitor cases of diseases common among women Overseas Filipino Workers, such as HIV, TB, and Hepatitis, and that the Philippine government should improve coordination with foreign employers to ensure proper working conditions for women Overseas Filipino Workers. The health of women Overseas Filipino Workers is particularly salient in the Philippines, where remittances from abroad constitute a significant source of income for Filipinos residing there. But Dr. Ramirez’s research on ensuring the health of overseas workers is also relevant to the APEC economies, as well as economies writ large, since migration is expected to play an increasingly vital role in population growth in the coming decades. A PowerPoint presentation on Dr. Ramirez's research can be found here.


Runners Up for the 2019 APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Research Prize

Ms. Paula Poblete (Chile) submitted a report she completed as Research Director of ComunidadMujer, an organization that promotes gender equality in the fields of education, labor, and politics, and promotes the creation of public and corporate policies for sustainable development. The report contains a longitudinal study that examines gender inequality across three generations of women and men in Chile. Ms. Poblete identifies work-life balance, and its effect on women’s ability to enter and stay in the workforce, as a key issue. Her study recommends the implementation of policies that should encourage women to enter and remain the workforce, such as modernizing the pension fund system by paying men and women equally, irrespective of the difference in life expectancy between men and women. Currently, women receive lower payouts through the pension system due to the fact that women have higher life expectancies than men. A PowerPoint presentation on Ms. Poblete's research can be found here.


Dr. Hong Jiang (China) is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Health and Global Health Institute at Fudan University. The research that she submitted considers whether episiotomy, a surgical procedure to prevent tears during childbirth, should be conducted only if needed or as part of routine management of childbirth. Her research assesses the effects of both policies on mother and child, and concludes that the restrictive use of episiotomy should be advocated, as it leads to fewer women having severe perineal trauma following childbirth. The article has been cited about 100 times since it was published in February 2017, and was used as evidence by the World Health Organization for its recommendations of intrapartum care for a positive childbirth experience. A PowerPoint presentation on Dr. Jiang's research can be found here.



The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific. APEC's 21 members aim to create greater prosperity for the people of the region by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration. Every year one of the 21 APEC Member Economies plays host to APEC meetings and serves as the APEC Chair. Chile is the first APEC host economy to select “Women, SMEs and Inclusive Growth” as one of its APEC host year themes. On November 17, 2018 President Sebastián Piñera announced Chile’s intention to inaugurate an “APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Research Prize” in partnership with Merck[1].

Since 2014 the APEC “Healthy Women, Healthy Economies” (HWHE) initiative has been working on a public-private partnership basis across three APEC working groups – the Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy (PPWE), Health Working Group (HWG), and Human Resources Development Working Group (HRDWG) –  to improve women’s health so women can join, thrive, and rise in the workforce[2]. Merck, as the primary HWHE private sector partner, co-chaired development of the 2015 HWHE Policy Toolkit, which details the issues, actions, and implementing elements for improving women’s health across five pillars: workplace health and safety; health access and awareness; work-life balance; sexual and reproductive health; and gender-based violence.

HWHE has found that sex-disaggregated data and gender based research and analysis is lacking. Policy makers, business leaders and others do not have adequate data and evidence to draw from to identify gender-specific interventions appropriate for their economies and organizations. To spotlight and spur much-needed data and evidence, Chile, along with Merck’s support, has created an annual prize recognizing research that enables policy makers, business leaders, and others to identify and implement measures to improve women’s health in APEC economies so women can join and rise in the workforce.

In order to be considered for this prize, individuals must submit an original piece of research that is no older than two years of age as of January 1, 2020. All are welcome to apply; you do not require a background in academia in order to be considered. However, the research must be evidence based. Furthermore, the research must be submitted in English. If the research was not originally written in English please have it professionally translated.

The winner of the prize will win USD $20,000, while the 2 runners-up will win USD $5,000 each. If the winner or runner up is from government then the prize money will be given instead to HealthyWomen (a women’s health not-for-profit). Alternatively, the winner or runners-up may designate a not-for-profit entity to receive the prize money[3]. Please attribute the research to all involved in its making, but only one individual may be nominated and eligible to receive the prize money and present the research in Chile.

[1] There are two different, unaffiliated companies that use the name Merck.  The lead HWHE private sector partner is headquartered in Darmstadt, Germany, and is known as Merck everywhere in the world except in the United States and Canada where it goes by “Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany” and also uses “EMD Serono” in biopharma. The other company, MSD, is headquartered in the United States.  It is not affiliated with or related to Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.  MSD is only known as Merck in the United States and Canada.

[2] The APEC Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy, Health Working Group, and Human Resources Development Working Group have also endorsed the APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Research Prize.

[3] Not-for-profit entities must be unaffiliated with governments or government agencies to be eligible.