China might have 1.3 billion of the nicest people in the world.
At every point during my 10-day trip with the UNMC delegation to this beautiful country, I was met with enthusiastic smiles, heartfelt hospitality and the warmest welcome, all of which I eagerly reciprocated.
It’s no wonder UNMC’s Asia Pacific Rim Development Program has been so successful. From Gang Pei, Ph.D., president of Tongji University in Shanghai, to Le Kang, Ph.D., president of Beijing Institutes of Life Sciences, the people who have signed agreements with UNMC establishing faculty and student exchanges, enhanced clinical training of family medicine physicians and new programs in nursing and physical therapy among others, have done so with open arms.
The excitement of being a part of UNMC was evident when it was announced at our first formal dinner in Beijing that there is now a new alumni chapter in China of Chinese students who have attended UNMC.
“Welcome to the family,” said Don Leuenberger, vice chancellor of business and finance at UNMC, as he toasted the announcement made by Jialin Zheng, M.D., associate vice chancellor for academic affairs.
The celebratory dinner was capped off with a performance by a Szechuan dancer who surprised us all when he changed his face mask more than a dozen times right before our eyes. It was a treat provided courtesy of our new Chinese alumni chapter president, Dr. Kang.
Our entourage was joined by Mindy Ruffalo, international business development director for the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, who happened to be in Beijing on other business and wanted to learn more about what UNMC is doing in China. As well she should, because everywhere we went it seems UNMC has a growing reputation in China – one of genuine commitment and excellence in education.
It was evident at a signing ceremony that renewed the partnership between UNMC and the Chinese Scholarship Council at which Liu Jinjui, M.D., Ph.D., and general secretary for the CSC, said: “The collaboration with UNMC is an exemplary model in how to train medical professionals and one we highly value.”
It was evident during a visit to the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when officials shared details about the surveillance techniques they use to monitor illness and infectious diseases throughout the country. They had many questions for UNMC officials about the response in caring for two patients with Ebola and the educational materials developed from those experiences. The entire delegation was then taken on a tour of a Chinese CDC infectious diseases laboratory.
And it was evident at the Shanghai Institute of Health Sciences, where a memorandum of understanding was signed to form collaborations in nursing education, faculty and student exchanges — and interest was expressed to someday form new partnerships in clinical laboratory science.
Hongmei Tang, M.D., president of Shanghai Institute of Health Sciences, proudly hosted the delegation, a few of whom she knew from 10 years ago, when she spent six months at UNMC training in hospital administration.
“Dr. Tang is proof that what began 10 years ago is clearly working in forming the next generation of leaders in China,” said Dr. Zheng.
To that I would like to add – we are part of a larger human family. Reaching out and sharing expertise and ideas with those in China only makes our family stronger. Way to go UNMC for being a leader in this endeavor.