Dr. Zheng - UNMC's secret weapon in China

by Chuck Brown, UNMC public relations | November 10, 2011

Jialin Zheng, M.D., went to medical school at the behest of his grandfather, a famous local practitioner of Chinese traditional medicine.

"He said I could do great things particularly if I combined Chinese medicine with western medicine," said Dr. Zheng, professor of pharmacology and experimental neuroscience and director of UNMC's Asia-Pacific Rim Development Program.

picture disc.
Jialin Zheng, M.D., has been instrumental in the development of UNMC's successful relationships with Chinese institutions.
In many ways, that's exactly what Dr. Zheng does.

A difference maker

Since 2004, Dr. Zheng has been at the fore of UNMC's efforts in China.

To build relationships, he has traveled repeatedly to China and just as frequently hosted officials from Chinese institutions.

He and his team helped UNMC forge more than 10 partnerships in China that allowed for:

  • UNMC to take an instrumental role in China's efforts to adopt family medicine;
  • The formation of the first joint U.S./Chinese M.D./Ph.D. program;
  • The establishment of first professional doctor training program with the China Scholarship Council; and
  • Research collaborations in lymphoma and other diseases.

"We've made major inroads in China and Jialin has been a big reason for this," said UNMC Chancellor Harold M. Maurer, M.D. "No one else has a Jialin."

Good timing

Support from campus leaders such as Dr. Maurer has been essential to UNMC's success in China, Dr. Zheng said, who noted UNMC officials have deemed strong partnerships in China as vital to the medical center's climb to world-class status.

"I am here at the right time when U.S.-China relationships are so important," Dr. Zheng said. "I also am at the age now where many of my colleagues from medical and graduate school have moved into leadership positions at Chinese institutions."

For example, Xiaoming Shen, M.D., Ph.D., vice mayor of Shanghai and previously the president of Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, a partner of UNMC, knew Dr. Zheng when they were both graduate students in China.

Witness to progress

It's been rewarding to watch UNMC's relationships in China grow but Dr. Zheng said the real gravity of his work hit him in Shanghai recently when he shared a cab with an Italian woman.

As they talked, Dr. Zheng explained how he forges partnerships between UNMC and Chinese institutions.

"Professor Zheng," the woman said. "Do you realize you do the most important work in the world in the two most important countries in the world?"

"That really struck me."


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Keith Swarts
November 10, 2011 at 2:30 PM

I have known Jialin for many years. He is a very driven and respected individual. We are where we are at in China today because of him and his tenacity. He makes things happen. It is my pleasure to know and work with him.

James Haorah
November 10, 2011 at 11:42 AM

Dr. Jialin Zheng is a leading STAR among the many shining stars. His charming smile captivates many people who know him.

Tom O'Connor
November 10, 2011 at 8:55 AM

Jialin is special. We are so lucky to have him. Having seen him in action over in China, I totally understand how valuable he is to furthering our Chinese relationships.

Kim Morrison
November 10, 2011 at 7:35 AM

I second Dr. Maurer's comment that "no one else has a Jialin". It is a pleasure and a privilege to work with Dr. Zheng. Congratulations on your success Jialin!