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UNMC aims for joint family medicine department with Chinese school

SHANGHAI -- UNMC is preparing to take its next step in China: a joint family medicine department with Tongji University.

"No one else has done it," said UNMC Chancellor Harold M. Maurer, M.D. "It would be the first family medicine department in China."

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UNMC Chancellor Harold M. Maurer, M.D., speaks Oct. 23 during the opening ceremony of the third annual Shanghai Symposium on Sino-U.S. Family Medicine at Tongji University in Shanghai. Maurer announced during the visit that UNMC and Tongji will form a joint Department of Family Medicine
The department should be finalized within the next year, said Michael Sitorius, M.D., chairman of UNMC's family medicine department.

Drs. Maurer and Sitorius were in Shanghai in October to speak at two events, the Third Asia Pacific Meeting of the Association of Academic Health Centers International and the Third Annual Shanghai Symposium of Sino-U.S. Family Medicine.

Shared faculty

Family medicine faculty members in Omaha and Shanghai would hold appointments at both UNMC and Tongji.

UNMC's long history of partnerships in China will continue to grow and deepen, Dr. Maurer said.

Bigger future plans

"I see a joint China-UNMC medical school in China," he said. "Then on to other programs, such as nursing, pharmacy and allied health."

China and the U.S. face similar health care challenges, he said. Both countries are undergoing health care reform and are working to incorporate technology and to improve the training and testing of medical students and residents.

UNMC is a role model in China, especially with its strong primary care program, he said.

An advantage to UNMC

Partnering with universities in China provides UNMC with advantages, Dr. Maurer said.

"We get very, very bright people who come to UNMC and help us build a stronger medical center," he said.

The partnerships also provide research opportunities and the benefits of cultural exchange, Dr. Maurer said.

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