Duke Kunshan University (DKU) in China is home to the new Global Health Research Center – an innovative hub that will bring together an interdisciplinary team of experts that will address three broad global health issues of great importance to China: health policy and systems, global environmental health, and chronic and non-communicable diseases.
Under the leadership of DKU and China Initiatives Associate Director Shenglan Tang at the Duke Global Health Institute, a team of faculty researchers and trainees recruited to the center have already begun their work. With backgrounds in health policy, the environment, business and nursing, Duke and DKU faculty who will be working at the Center include Tang, Keith Dear, Jim Zhang, Chee-Ruey Hsieh, William Pan, Bei Wu and Jeff Moe. Dear and Hsieh will be based full time at the Center. Recruitment is underway for a faculty member with expertise in chronic and non-communicable diseases who will also be based at the Center.
“China is increasingly an important country for studying global health, and we hope that our work through the Global Health Research Center will play a key role in informing policy and ultimately improving health equity,” said Tang, also professor of medicine and global health at Duke. “We are fortunate to be based in China and this will be a great benefit for our research. Instead of being oceans away, the issues we are studying are right in our backyard.”
Currently under way are research projects exploring tuberculosis control and access to medicines in China, with funding from the World Health Organization and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Other studies to follow will focus on hypertension and diabetes, mental health, climate change, air quality, and health financing and reform.
"The DKU Global Health Research Center is not only engaged in cutting-edge research; it also provides a strong intellectual base for our global health educational programs: the Master of Science in Global Health and global health courses in our undergraduate semester program. This combination of research and education is one of the distinct attributes of Duke Kunshan University," said Mary Bullock, executive vice chancellor at DKU.
The DKU Global Health Research Center will also serve as a hub for facilitating partnerships in global health across China, Asia and Africa. With Peking University and Fudan University, DKU will also play a leading role in the newly established Chinese Consortium of Universities in Global Health. The DKU global health research team is continuing to build key collaborations with Chinese experts, policymakers and health organizations through events like the Duke-Kunshan Forum taking place next year --- in which scientists, professionals, policymakers and key stakeholders can share their work in global health.
“The Global Health Research Center will provide great opportunities for us to strengthen existing collaborations and develop new ones with partners across China, Asia and Africa,” said Tang. “The Center at DKU is expected to be one of the leading institutes contributing to the improvement of health in China and the region in the years to come.”