UNMC continues to foster vital international relationships in China

by Stacie Hamel, UNMC public relations | November 21, 2012

Global health and collaboration of academic health centers across international boundaries will continue to grow in importance.

Don Leuenberger, UNMC vice chancellor for business and finance, spoke about that importance at the opening of the Fourth Annual Xi'an Sino-U.S. Family Medicine Symposium in China.

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Dr. Paul Paulman demonstrates learning to draw blood with the use of a task trainer. His "patient," Dr. Jeffrey Harrison, also taught during family medicine symposiums in China.
"What happens in one country affects the rest of the world. An outbreak of disease in Africa affects China and the United States," he said.

Family medicine the pivot point

The United States spends almost 17 percent of its gross domestic product on health care. China spends about 5 percent.

"In China, we ask should we spend more. In the U.S., we know we have to spend less," he said.

Those who practice family medicine are at the forefront of this effort, Leuenberger said.

UNMC faculty on the ground in China

A group represented UNMC at the symposium at Xi'an Jiaotong University Health Science Center and at the Third Annual Shanghai Symposium on Sino-U.S. Family Medicine at Shanghai's Tongji University.

The group included:

  • Jialin Zheng, M.D., assistant vice chancellor for acadmic affairs;
  • Michael Sitorius, M.D., chairman of family medicine;
  • Jeffrey Harrison, M.D., director of family medicine residency;
  • Marilyn Sitorius, M.D., adjunct professor of radiology;
  • Paul Paulman, M.D., assistant dean for clinical education and quality;
  • Audrey Paulman, M.D., associate family medicine professor; and
  • Kent Zhao, M.D., a UNMC graduate and now assistant family medicine professor for Alegent-Creighton Health.

Chancellor Harold M. Maurer, M.D., noted that the Chinese schools pay nearly all the travel expenses for UNMC representatives who teach at the symposiums.

Chinese institutions value UNMC relationships

Dr. Maurer saw evidence of how ingrained UNMC's partnerships there have become when he spoke at the 60th anniversary celebration for Jiaotong's medical school. The event included the grand opening of the school's museum. In the exhibits, he noticed a familiar word among the Chinese lettering: His own name.

He also saw a photo of Dr. Zheng and a map that displayed lines from Jiaotong to its international partners. The longest was to UNMC.

No borders

The programs are important, Dr. Maurer said.

"There are no borders," he said. "We look to the future. What will it look like? How do we get there? You've got to be out there. There's a whole world out there."

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