Science, Medicine & Public Health

Chinese scholars at Chicago have been among the most celebrated in the world, including Nobel Prize winners C.N. Yang and T.D. Lee (Physics, 1957) and Taiwanese born scientist Yuan Tseh Lee (Chemistry, 1986). In addition, University of Chicago researchers have collaborated with Chinese colleagues in a wide range of areas to yield exciting new insights, build scientific infrastructure, promote educational reforms, and contribute to the formation of significant public policy.

These efforts include Paul Sereno’s collaborative work on dinosaurs from Inner Mongolia; the Argonne National Laboratory’s collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Sciences on the Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility; Donald York’s international initiative to build a large array of small telescopes to detect transient events in the sky, for which the Chinese will build the telescopes; and Renslow Sherer’s ongoing collaboration on medical school curriculum with Wuhan University Medical School. Michael Millis and Mark Siegler have worked closely with Chinese counterparts on studies of organ transplant policy and ethical standards for research involving human subjects.  A number of faculty members lead research labs in China.

Health Care Reform
The University’s newly launched Global Health Initiative will have a base of operations at the Center in Beijing.  China, like the United States, is committed to the goal of making quality health care available to large segments of its population that are currently under-served.  Given the country’s vast demographics, China faces almost every challenge in global health, including health disparities, chronic diseases and (re-emerging) infectious diseases, nutritional changes, and new environmental and behavioral threats.  Internally, China is responding to multiple health care issues, including the government’s promise of health care for all citizens and an ambitious national health insurance plan to help cover the rising cost of this program. Once an economically sustainable health care system is identified, dramatic changes in the doctor/patient relationship, medical ethics, the educational system, and regulations will need to be implemented. The Center will provide an opportunity for scholars and students to engage in the comparative exploration of health care system reform.

Medical Curriculum Revision
Led by Dr. Renslow Sherer, Jr., Professor of Medicine in the Section of Infectious Diseases and Global Health, the University of Chicago has participated in a series of faculty exchanges with the medical faculty of Wuhan University and worked with them on a comprehensive medical curriculum review project. There may be opportunities to broaden this research collaboration, as Chinese medical schools have been challenged to reform their medical education practices and curricula, and the government is aggressively promoting the development of primary care physician training programs and care systems.

Transplant Reforms
The University’s Transplant Center has a strong working relationship with the Chinese Ministry of Health.  Dr. Michael Millis, Professor of Surgery and Director of the Transplant Center, is a consultant to the Ministry and part of a grant funded by the China Medical Board to develop a training center for transplantation at Peking Union Medical College, which has been the seed for the regulatory development.

Large Scale Collaborative Projects
Our laboratories have hosted a large number of Chinese visitors and, increasingly, advanced graduate students funded by the China Scholarship Council. These “residences” generally build on collaborative ties between researchers at Chicago and Chinese institutions. The Center in Beijing will assist with the diverse on-site needs of Chicago faculty members engaged in collaborative research and activities that contribute to discoveries of lasting impact. Furthermore, the existence of a physical space will particularly be helpful with large-scale collaborative projects.

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