Yukiko Asada, Ph.D.


Department of Bioethics

NIH Clinical Center

Building 10, Room 1C341
10 Center Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892



Research Topics

The ultimate goal of Dr. Yukiko Asada's research is to establish sound foundations of fairness in health systems and the health of populations locally, nationally, and globally. To meet this goal, her research specifically aims to articulate concepts of health inequity, advance the measurement of health inequity, and promote public dialogue on health inequity.

A healthy population has both good overall health and a fair distribution of health. A well-functioning health system is effective, efficient, and equitable. Considerations of equity and fairness are paramount in improving health systems and the health of populations. Equity and fairness are ethical concepts, and diverse views exist. Unless we can articulate concepts of health equity and inequity, we are unable to know what a fair distribution of health and equitable health systems would look like. Thus, Dr. Asada's research aims to articulate concepts of health inequity. Fundamental to achieving health equity is the ability to measure and regularly report health inequity. Without measurement, we cannot know where we are and whether we are making progress. Measuring health inequity, however, is complex. It requires interdisciplinary integration of ethics (e.g., defining health inequity), methods (e.g., quantifying health inequity), and policy (e.g., offering policy relevant information). This is the very challenge Dr. Asada's research tackles - to advance the measurement of health inequity. Finally, health equity is ultimately a value judgment. The "right" view on equity and fairness and the "right" course of action to promote it are likely not out there to be discovered in academic writings but need to be explored among all those who are affected. For this reason, Dr. Asada's research aims to promote public dialogue on health inequity.

Using a highly collaborative, interdisciplinary approach, Dr. Asada conducts both conceptual and empirical analyses. For empirical analyses, she uses quantitative (mostly secondary analyses of large population-based health data), qualitative, and deliberative methods.


Prior to joining the Department of Bioethics in 2022 for the position focusing on health disparities/inequalities and ethics, Dr. Asada was tenured Professor in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, Dalhousie University, Canada. Her work has been supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). She received a PhD in population health from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and bachelor's and master's degrees in the University of Tsukuba, Japan. She completed postdoctoral training in bioethics and population health at Dalhousie University.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Friday, July 28, 2023