Students sought for international conference in Beijing

by Walter Brooks, UNMC public affairs
The Asia Pacific Rim Development Program (APRDP), inaugurated in early 2005 with the signing of a historic Memorandum of Understanding between UNMC and two of China’s leading biomedical institutions, will enter its second stage in June.


Applications are now being accepted for the selection of 12 students to attend the International Student Forum in Beijing, China, June 30-July 2. Some participants also will stay to represent UNMC at the 15th World Congress of Pharmacology July 2-7.


The forum will bring together students from the United States, China and Japan. In addition to UNMC, the institutions represented will be the Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of Science (GUCAS) and Tokyo University. The forum will feature research presentations by the students, extensive networking opportunities and collaboration on research. China and Japan also will have 12 to 15 students attending. Students from all three nations will take part in special opening and closing ceremonies.


This is the third year for the annual forum, but the first invitation for UNMC.


From left: Kai Fu, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, John Chan, M.D., professor, both in UNMC’s Department of Pathology and Microbiology , and Hai Zheng, a visiting student from SJTUSM. Drs. Fu and Chan served as student faculty advisers.

“This is an opportunity for UNMC students to participate in significant international events with students from China and Japan,” said Don Leuenberger, vice chancellor for business and finance at UNMC. “UNMC is fortunate to be invited to these events, and we are working hard to develop a lasting relationship with these two nations, which are very important to Nebraska’s future. GUCAS and Tokyo University are world-class institutions, and this is a unique opportunity for UMNC students.”


Abbey Maul, a current graduate student in UNMC’s Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience, is excited about the upcoming meeting. ” The forum is an incredible opportunity for all students who are able to attend. Not only will we develop valuable connections with other student researchers across the globe, but also act as representatives of the scientific research conducted in the United States today.”


The invitation represents the second phase of UNMC’s participation in APRDP. The first phase brought three Chinese medical students – Xizhe Ding, Jiayao Lin and Hai Zheng – for a three-month rotation, and Hongmei Tang, M.D., deputy dean of academic affairs from the Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine (SJTUSM), for four months. One of the UNMC faculty advisers to the Chinese students — Huiling Pang, M.D., Ph.D, assistant professor in the department of anesthesiology — said it is now UNMC’s turn to learn from their Chinese counterparts in China.


“The first phase was a great success. APRDP initiates a much more formal and regular collaboration in research and education between our respective medical schools,” Dr. Pang said.
From left: Jiayao Lin, a visiting student from SJTUSM, and Huiling Pang, M.D., Ph.D, assistant professor, department of anesthesiology. Dr. Pang served as a student faculty adviser.

As one of the clinical advisers, Dr. Pang provided personalized attention to the exchange students as they learned fundamental clinical skills and American professionalism. The students worked closely with program administrators and clinical advisors throughout their rotations, she said. “Clinical and research issues, as well as daily cultural differences between the two nations, were discussed frequently. All of these interactions benefit the students in developing comfort, proficiency and compassion and the meaning of patient-centered care,” she said.


“Now, UNMC faculty and students have the opportunity to visit medical and graduate schools in China and compare and contrast medical education and practice in America with that of other nations,” Dr. Pang said. “This overseas experience will certainly help UNMC students develop a more global perspective and approach to medical education and clinical practice. This is another step in helping UNMC graduates compete and interact globally in medicine and research.”


Jialin Zheng, M.D., the director of UNMC Asia Pacific Rim Developmental Program, and an associate professor of the UNMC Departments of Pharmacology/Experimental Neuroscience and Pathology/Microbiology, said the APRDP program established to enhance UNMC’s outreach toward China and the Asian-Pacific regions – currently areas now undergoing massive economic growth.


“The experiences gained and friendships established through this collaboration will add to UNMC’s stature as a “world class” medical institution,” Dr. Zheng said. “Ultimately, the efforts, similar to long-term collaborative efforts with European biomedical institutions, will bring more opportunities, as well as academic and economic success, to all participants. This international forum represents another event in our continuous effort toward enhancing our outreach to the global scientific community and will further the UNMC mission to build a world class institution in this century.”
The forum is open to all UNMC students, with particular emphasis on students in Graduate Studies. All college students are encouraged to apply. All student participants will be required to give a presentation regarding their research during the forum.


Attendees will be selected by a student and faculty panel based upon the submitted abstracts. Students from every departmental area are encouraged to apply in order to represent the broad spectrum of research being conducted at UNMC. For additional information about APRDP, visit the APRDP Web site.

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