December 15, 2023

Recent China visit includes stops, bolsters partnerships at numerous institutions

The trip provided Global REACH leaders the opportunity to strengthen relationships with multiple institutions, as well as build new partnerships.

Drs. Kolars and Huang (back row, center) with a group of invited guests at the 2023 Beijing Forum international academic conference.

A recent visit to China provided Global REACH leaders the opportunity strengthen relationships with multiple institutions, as well as build new partnerships.

Global REACH Director Joseph Kolars and Director of Asia Programs Amy Huang spent about two weeks traveling across China and Taiwan in November. They visited several academic institutions and affiliated hospitals to meet with leadership counterparts, participate in academic conferences, and interview prospective trainees exploring fellowship opportunities at Michigan Medicine. Stops included Peking University Health Science Center, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, ShanghaiTech University, and Fudan University, as well as Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, in Taiwan.

“I welcomed the chance to sit down with colleagues and friends that, in many cases, I had not seen since before the pandemic. After years of limited travel, we were able to reconnect, reassess our needs and goals, and explore ways to move forward,” said Kolars, MD, MACP.

Dr. Kolars gives an interview during the Beijing Forum.

Leading off the busy itinerary was the Beijing Forum, a prestigious international academic conference co-hosted each year by Peking University. Kolars participated alongside other leaders from the academic, public, and private sectors in a panel discussion titled One Health and Innovative Ecosystem.

A visit to Peking University Third Hospital, affiliated with Peking University Health Science Center, Michigan Medicine’s longtime partner school, focused on resuming a healthcare leadership training program that has been on hold since the COVID-19 pandemic. About 15 Third Hospital faculty are expected to visit Michigan Medicine for three weeks next spring for an immersive leadership development workshop.

In Taiwan, a two-day visit to Chang Gung Memorial Hospital (CGMH) included a symposium focused on ongoing research collaborations between the two institutions, followed by interviews with several CGMH faculty expected to travel to Ann Arbor early next year for extended research training —a program that was also delayed by the pandemic.

“Our partners at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital are very dedicated to expanding research capacity through collaboration. Our mutual hope is that, by bringing their scholars for extended periods to work alongside our faculty, the partnership can be both sustainable and productive,” said Huang, MD, MHSA.

Some meetings were dedicated to cultivating new relationships. A stop at the Beijing office of the China Medical Board (CMB), a US-based organization dedicated to improving healthcare across Asia, helped cement new training and scholarly exchange programs being launched by Michigan Medicine and partner institutions in China, including ShanghaiTech University, a relatively young institution focused on research and innovation.

“Everywhere we went, there was an evident enthusiasm for international partnerships and cooperation,” Kolars said. “Our partners recognize, as we do, that the best way forward when it comes to solving some of our most difficult health challenges, is together.”