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Creighton Expands Partnership with Chinese University

Omaha World-Herald: Creighton expanding exchange program with Chinese

Signatures from Creighton University President Father Timothy Lannon, S.J. and Jin-Kun Wen, M.D., Ph.D., president of Hebei Medical University in Shijiazhuang, China, seal the deal - the two schools will now work to expand their partnership to include student and faculty exchanges in medicine, pharmacy and possibly even dentistry.

"International collaboration is much needed in China," explained Wen via a translator during the short signing ceremony on Tuesday, August 20.

One of the hospitals associated with Hebei Medical University, known simply as the school's 3rd Hospital, contacted Creighton seven years ago to first discuss a collaboration focused on rehabilitation - in particular, occupational therapy (OT).

"China has an especially dire need for more rehabilitation professionals," said Keli Mu, Ph.D., chair of Creighton's Department of Occupational Therapy. "To put it in perspective, the United States has approximately 133,000 licensed occupational therapists for 311 million people. China has several hundred OTs for a population that exceeds 1.3 billion."

To help address this need, Creighton established the China Honors Interprofessional Program (CHIP). Since 2008, CHIP has sent a group of Creighton physical therapy, occupational therapy and nursing students and faculty to the 3rd Hospital over their fall break. While there they provide rehabilitation training through symposiums, presentations and hands-on work. They also offer consultations and co-treat patients with Hebei?s attending physicians, nurses and rehabilitation therapists. In turn, the hospital sends specialists to Omaha for a year-long immersion in rehabilitation. Read more about the visiting scholars currently on campus.

Creighton and Hebei leaders agree that the expansion to medicine and pharmacy will help make both universities stronger.

"There is so much mutual benefit to this relationship," said Don Frey, M.D., vice-president of health sciences at Creighton University. "We can work together to find solutions for issues, such as hypertension, diabetes and heart disease, that are challenging both the U.S. and China."

Joining Fr. Lannon, Wen, Mu and Frey at the signing ceremony were:

  • Edward O'Connor, Ph.D., Creighton University Provost
  • Chris Bradberry, Pharm.D., Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, Creighton University
  • Maria Krane, Ed.D., Executive Director of International Programs and Director of the Intensive English Program, Creighton University
  • Maorong Jiang, Ph.D., Director of the Asian World Center and Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Relations, Creighton University
  • Zhang JingKun, Director of International Cooperation & Exchange Division, Hebei Medical University