In middle October of 2011, Dr. Lincoln Chen, President of US China Medical Board (CMB) spent two days visiting Sichuan University. The University’s Executive Vice President Dr. Li Hong met him at the guestroom of the Huaxi Campus on the morning of October 17th. At the meeting, Vice President Li Hong extended warm welcome and heart-felt thanks, on behalf of President Xie Heping, to Dr. Lincoln Chen for his good leadership and CMB’s long-term support to our health sciences. As China is going through a new round of health reform and its social economic development continues the powerful steady momentum, West China is facing with new challenges and opportunities in health provision and policy studies. Sichuan University as the largest higher education institution in West China with its multi-disciplinary resources and strong research-education foundation is playing the key role in building the education and research platform for promoting health and improving life quality of the average people in West China, Vice President Li Hong indicated. In the recent few years, CMB has contributed a lot to the post-quake reconstruction, health policy system studies and training of faculty members of Sichuan University. We hope that Dr. Lincoln Chen’s visit will further promote the collaboration and reinforce the joint effort to confront the health challenges in West China.
Dr. Lincoln Chen expressed that it was his honor to visit Sichuan University. He reviewed the vision, mission and the relationship of CMB with the University. He said that CMB has shifted its support focus to health policy system studies and rural health, including medical education, health policy, nursing, tobacco control and young faculty development. The West China Center of Medical Sciences of Sichuan University has good foundation and potentiality in these areas. CMB is highly interest in continuing the collaboration, esp. in training young faculty and importing high-clibre health policy experts.
Accompanied by Vice President Shi Jian, Dr. Lincoln Chen also visited the Evidence-based Research Center of West China Health, granted to Sichuan University by CMB in 2009. The center is dedicated to promote multi-disciplinary cooperation within the scope of Health Policy System Science (HPSS) research, such as public health, sociology, health economics and anthropology; map out the most critical health issues in Western China and explore possible policy strategies through systematic research. The center also aims to support and nurture next generation scholars in the field of HPSS, generate high quality research evidence for policy transformation, and therefore improve policy research capacity and population health in China. On the center’s conference attended by all committee members and faculty from related schools, Professor Ma Xiao, Vice Director of the center, reported the recent progress of the center, the plan for the next step, and both challenges and opportunities they had been facing. Lincoln Chen put forward questions like “what are the most critical health issues in Western China?” “What research questions the center should focus on?”, followed by hot discussion among all the attendees.
During his visit, Dr. Lincoln Chen presented a speech to the faculty and students, named “From China to Harvard, and back again”. He retrospectively summarized his life career to the audience, and shared some personal reflections on medical education through different roles he has experienced successively as a medical student, a clinical doctor, an academic researcher, and currently, President of an independent foundation for advancing health in China. His speech was highly regarded as “non-academic, but most interesting and illuminating”--- quoted from comments by the students, and triggered various questions and discussions among the audience.
Lincoln Chen also visited the West China School of Public Health and the Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) Center in Sichuan University where he had been warmly hosted by Professor Li Xiaosong, dean of the public health school, and Professor Li Youping, director of the EBM center.
His visit was concluded by a discussing session with young scholars coming from various backgrounds with the same research interests in HPSS. Through face to face contact with the next generation researchers working in this field, Lincoln Chen gathered information about their current research questions and findings, their real needs and preferred ways of being supported. The young scholars also provide their suggestions to CMB as how to facilitate and strengthen health system research capacity in China.
Lincoln Chen’s two-day visit was busy yet fruitful in the way to deepen mutual understanding between the China Medical Board and Sichuan University.