Undergraduates Enjoy Global Health Program in China

SEPTEMBER 2, 2014 – Twelve undergraduates interested in international health have recently returned from a summer study abroad program in China.

Z. Jennifer Huang, PhD, MPH, MBBS, the Susan H. Mayer Professor in Health Equity and an associate professor of international health at the School of Nursing & Health Studies, led the intensive six-credit program along with colleagues Bernhard H. Liese, MD, DSc, MPH, chair of the Department of International Health, and William McGreevey, PhD, associate professor of international health.

Co-hosted by Fudan and Sichuan universities, the program examined the impact of rapid social and economic developments on health. 

Daniel Choy (F’15), a science, technology, and international affairs major at the School of Foreign Service, and Katherine Shannon (NHS’15), a human science major, say they enjoyed this experience.

Beyond the Classroom

“When I started pursuing my public health minor, I knew that the program in Shanghai would be the perfect experience to couple with the minor,” Shannon says.

The six-week course offered undergraduates the opportunity to combine classroom experience with field trips to village and community clinics, archaeology sites, and a panda research center.

In addition to taking two three-credit classes, the students visited sites of public health interest, including the Shanghai Ministry of Health and the Center for Disease Control. Topics in global health covered environment health, non-communicable disease, mental health system and law, rural health insurance system development, and health implications of globalization.

Traditional Medicine

“Having studied Mandarin and Chinese political history at Georgetown, I saw this program as an opportunity to expand my learning beyond the traditional classroom through complete immersion,” says Choy.

Shannon was fascinated by how much the Chinese are dedicated to the traditional medicine.

“Every community health center in China had both a western pharmacy and a traditional Chinese medicine pharmacy,” she says.

Future Plans

Choy believes that the future of health care in China is an important area of focus as it affects over one billion citizens. 

“This experience prompted me to apply for a Fulbright grant through the State Department in hopes that I can return to East Asia and learn more,” he says.

Shannon says that the experience reinforced her desire to lessen health disparities.

“You cannot forget about the rural poor in China, who have such a difficult time even accessing care,” Shannon says.

By Masha Mikey (S’15)