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Global Reach: Geisel Shares Expertise at International Summit in China

By Edom Wessenyeleh (DC ‘17) and Olivia Rosen (DC ‘17)

Five faculty from Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine traveled to China earlier this summer to share their expertise with medical professionals from Xi’an Medical University at The International Summit Forum on Higher Medical Education in General Practice. The five-day conference, aimed at advancing the development and delivery of family medicine at Xi’an Medical University (XMU), focused on the importance of family medicine and the integration of primary care, hospital care, and community-based care. This extraordinary opportunity recognizes Geisel’s strength as a leader in medical education and primary care training and establishes a platform for further knowledge sharing.

“Xi'an Medical University was thrilled to have the chance to work with Geisel School of Medicine and with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center to expand their family practice section,” says James McGuire, PhD, FCCP Senior lecturer and Pall Life Sciences Senior Consultant at the VA Regional Medical Center in White River Junction, VT. McGuire was contacted by Manling Liu, MD, of XMU to head the organization and planning of an international conference centered on topics of critical care and family practice. Lui and McGuire have known each other for years through their affiliation with the American Association for Respiratory Care—Lui is a past international fellow, and McGuire has been a consultant at XMU.

Faculty from Geisel and Xi’an Medical University at the International Summit Forum on Higher Medical Education in General Practice.
Faculty from Geisel and Xi’an Medical University at the International Summit Forum on Higher Medical Education in General Practice.

Accompanying McGuire to China, were Steve Liu, MD, an associate professor of Community and Family Medicine; Lisa V. Adams, (Med ’90), an assistant professor of medicine and associate dean for global health; Catherine Pipas, MD, (MPH ’11), a professor of community and family medicine and assistant dean for medical education; and Kenneth Rudd, MD, MPH, an assistant professor of community and family medicine.

On supporting XMU in their primary care mission, Pipas says it was an “opportunity for us to learn and to teach and advance the health of our broadest population. If we consider our Dartmouth vision for the healthiest population broadly, then this population extends to our global partners.”

In addition to lectures and interactive seminars, the Geisel team also visited affiliated hospitals and health centers around Xi’an to observe local primary care systems and share experiences. Liu was particularly affected by this part of the visit, saying he was “impressed by the involvement of families in the care for hospitalized patients—the families are expected to bring food for patients who are in the hospital.” He adds, “We also witnessed family members providing physical therapy for patients. Although this stems from a lack of resources in China, compared to the US, allowing family members to participate in the care for hospitalized patients is probably something that we should encourage more of here.”

Dr. Lisa Adams talks with a colleague from Xi’an Medical University.
During this trip, Dr. Adams (left) also joined Dr. Liming Bao (center), a pathologist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, for a brief side visit to Chongqing Medical University (CMU) where Dr. Bao has been supporting development of their molecular diagnostic laboratory since 2007. A top-ranked medical school in the country, CMU is interested in exploring a possible medical student exchange with Geisel. Dr. Adams toured several of the school's teaching hospitals, met with CMU and hospital leadership and current exchange students. Overall impressions were favorable and discussions for further exploration are underway at Geisel.

The Geisel delegation has high hopes for a relationship between the two centers. “We hope that this visit leads to an ongoing collaboration between the two institutions in the future—one possibility, is that Dartmouth students and faculty who are interested in global health could have the opportunity to travel to XMU to learn more about their health care system,” Liu says. “We could also host members of Xi’an in the future so that they could get a better understanding of health care in the US.” Overall, the teams at both institutions are interested in exploring the potential for collaboration, learning, and exchange between Dartmouth and XMU.

Although they are far apart, the two schools do have something in common—neither is located within the main knowledge centers of their respective countries, yet both have prospered. But a difference is that Dartmouth has a well-established reputation for excellence, while XMU is gradually building its reputation independent of the megacities of Shanghai and Beijing that receive the majority of the attention and financial resources.

There are other commonalities, too. Liu says he is, “surprised by the similarities and challenges we both face in paying for health care, increasing access to care, and attempting to improve outcomes of care.”

Similar to health care in the US, XMU is dealing with the realities of too many patients seeking specialists for their care and increasing health care costs. The school plans to establish a new center of primary care excellence in Western China, which could prove to be an exciting partner for Geisel.

As this visit to China illustrates, it is clear that Geisel School of Medicine is being sought after for its expertise in primary care and global health.