Throughout his career, Dr. Chen has directed many research projects in the areas of health services and policy research, rural health research, health economics, and public health services and systems research (PHSSR), publishing policy briefs, research finding briefs, reports to public health agencies, and peer-reviewed manuscripts to inform policy makers, public health practitioners, and health administrators at state, regional, and national levels.
Dr. Chen has been the PI or Co-PI for several PHSSR grants funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). During 2010 and 2020, he co-founded and co-directed the Nebraska Public Health Practice Based Research Network (PBRN) that links the UNMC College of Public Health, Public Health Association of Nebraska, Nebraska Association of Local Health Directors, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, and all public health districts across the state of Nebraska. Through the PBRN, Dr. Chen has engaged many local health departments in identifying, designing, implementing, disseminating, and translating research on critical issues related to public health systems, including workforce capacity, community partnership, resource allocation, quality improvement strategies and cost, and public health agency accreditation readiness and challenges.
Dr. Chen currently serves as an editorial board member of the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, a premier peer-reviewed journal in public health practice research. He also serves as an Education Council member for AcademyHealth, which is a major and leading national organization serving the field of health services and policy research. Through his previous employment, Dr. Chen also served as the Director of the UNMC Center for Health Policy Analysis and Rural Health Research and was the Deputy Director of the Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis (funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy) from 2004 to 2010. Dr. Chen was also the Founding Director of the UNMC PhD Program in Health Services and Policy Research.