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Tsinghua University establishes Vanke School of Public Health

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Tsinghua University and China Vanke Co. Ltd. signed a cooperation agreement this morning to establish the Vanke School of Public Health, which will boost talent training, scientific research and further enhance China’s capabilities in public health management.



Drawing on Tsinghua’s multidisciplinary advantages, the School will adopt new models of interdisciplinary cooperation and education. It is aimed at covering four research fields and is oriented towards graduate education in: preventative medicine, comprehensive healthcare, big data in healthcare, and public health policy and management.


A special fund has been set up for the development of the School with a donation from Vanke to the Tsinghua University Education Foundation.


Aiming to embrace the challenges posed by global medical and health developments and by critical domestic demands, the School will foster leaders in the field and respond to major public health issues at home and abroad.


In the next five to ten years, the School will provide support to China’s epidemic control, vaccine development and decisive think tanks related to major public health policy-making.


WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus sent a video message of congratulations that was broadcast at the ceremony.


Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus


“Public health is a science of and for society. You have already begun making progress on COVID-19 research into vaccines, testing and epidemic prevention systems. I look forward to future collaboration between the School of Public Health and WHO as we strive together to keep the world safe through research and by strengthening our health and preparedness systems,” he said.



Chen Xu, Secretary of the CPC Tsinghua University Committee, announced the establishment at the ceremony.


In her speech, Chen Xu said that it was of extraordinary significance to hold the online ceremony amid the global fight against the COVID-19 epidemic and right before World Health Day which will fall on April 7.


Chen stated that founding the School helped complete Tsinghua’s discipline structure and it was also a quick response by Tsinghua to President Xi Jinping’s call to improve China’s capacities in epidemic prevention and control and public health research.


Chen said she expected the School will make full use of Tsinghua’s academic strengths and advantages, as well as its talent pool, to aim higher and devote itself to improving China’s public health system and global health and welfare.


Ceremony


Vanke founder Wang Shi, who was named honorary chairman of the board of trustees at the ceremony, delivered a speech.


Wang Shi


Wang said that this was the dream-come-true moment for all employees of Vanke and that its donation today to the public health cause of the mankind is the best outcome for Vanke founding shareholders equity.


At the same time, given that Vanke came into being and grew stronger in Shenzhen, Wang Shi expressed hope that the Vanke School of Public Health would take part in and generously support the improvement of health care services in Shenzhen.


Margaret Chan


Dr. Margaret Chan, the inaugural Dean of the School and Emeritus Director-General of WHO, noted that the establishment of the School could not have been better timed, as the epidemic prevention and control requires the concerted efforts of all countries in the world and demonstrates Tsinghua's sense of responsibility as a world-leading university.


According to Dr. Chan, the School will promote the country’s public health system and management level, by assisting in the development of think tanks, national policies formulation and training of civil servants and government officials.


“The disease has made us better understand the importance of international cooperation and building a community of a shared future for humankind. The School is a rising star in the night of this pandemic,” Dr. Chan added.


As the inaugural Dean, she is looking forward to working with other colleagues to build a world-class public health school.


Qiu Yong


Tsinghua President Qiu Yong said in his concluding remarks that Tsinghua University’s decision to establish the School of Public Health reflected Tsinghua’s commitment to meet China’s major strategic needs and address global public health issues.


“The COVID-19 pandemic is a disaster on a global scale. Universities are the lighthouse of human civilization, disseminating knowledge and culture to posterity, and illuminating a world improved by our individual and collective efforts. Facing such a grave challenge that concerns the future of mankind, universities must shoulder our due responsibilities.” said Qiu.


He also mentioned that universities have responsibilities of conducting research to combat the pandemic, overcoming difficulties to fulfill our educational commitment, and promoting global exchange and cooperation with an open and inclusive approach.


“The year 2020 may well mark a historical watershed in human society. It is an undeniable truth that our thought-processes, decisions and actions will be etched in living memory and collective history. At this moment, it is truly remarkable that we are witnessing and creating a historical legacy in collaborative efforts to safeguard global public health security and improve human health. Let us join hands to create a shared future for mankind!” Qiu added.


Tsinghua has a solid foundation for building first-class public health disciplines, with a comprehensive discipline structure covering eleven disciplines and a worldwide academic reputation. Numerous faculty members from the fields of engineering, management, biomedicine and social sciences, having participated in the field of public health, also are an advantage when it comes to interdisciplinary cooperation.


After the outbreak of SARS, Tsinghua set up a research base for China’s emergency management with the support of the Beijing Municipal government. In 2010, Tsinghua began developing its public health discipline by assigning senior faculty to carry out research and postgraduate training.


The University also has experience in running programs for the International Master of Public Health degree. Since 2014, it has trained 112 qualified talented professionals in the field for 32 developing countries. Since 2015, the Institute for Hospital Management of Tsinghua University has worked with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in medical management, talent training and staff exchange.


Reporter: Li Han

Photo by Shi Jiadong, Yang Yanbin

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