Public Health collaboration

Officials from UH Manoa and Wuhan University are all smiles after signing an agreement initiating student and faculty exchanges.

A unique exchange program between the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s Office of Public Health Studies (OPHS) and Wuhan and Fudan Universities – two of the most prestigious Schools of Public Health in China—is helping to foster groundbreaking research on a variety of topics covering public health and environmental sciences.

The program, which started in 2007, provides an opportunity for graduate students from the three institutions to perform research either in Hawai‘i or China two or three times a year.  More than 50 percent of faculty members from OPHS have also gone to teach or perform research in China.

Yuanan Lu, a professor of environmental health, and Jay Maddock, director of OPHS, co-founded the expanding program, which now has a long waiting list of high-caliber candidates eager to participate.

Patent-worthy research such as genetic analysis techniques used to perform quick spot checks on water supplies to detect disease causing pathogens, which came out of Lu’s lab last summer, contributed to the eight peer-reviewed articles that have been published or pushed into pre-press since the program began four years ago. Other published papers include the impact of the Three Gorges Dam, sexual behavior in Chinese college students, stress in the workplace and environmental health.

Students spend four to six weeks at the respective universities conducting research that includes laboratory and data analysis, study design and gathering results. “The UH-China Public Health Partnerships program has had a positive impact on all three schools increasing the ability of faculty and students to work in multi-country settings to address global health issues,” said Maddock.

Maddock and Lu expect the thriving program to produce more promising research that will benefit and enhance the Hawaii-China connection.

For more information, visit the Office of Public Health Studies website at http://www.hawaii.edu/publichealth/index.html.

Top photo: Exchange students from Wuhan and Fuhan Universities in China visit the State Capital.

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