John A. Burns School of Medicine helps establish first accredited speech-hearing program in China

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Tina Shelton, (808) 554-2586
Director of Communications, Office of Dean of Medicine
Vina Cristobal, (808) 469-4953
University Health Partners of Hawaii, Office of Dean of Medicine
Posted: Dec 21, 2016

Faculty of Kunming University and UH give a thumbs up at the medical school.
Faculty of Kunming University and UH give a thumbs up at the medical school.

On December 5, professors from the Kunming Medical University (KMU) in southwestern China visited the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) at the University of Hawaiʻi (UH) at Mānoa to continue an extraordinary collaboration with the medical school. Earlier this year,  KMU realized a groundbreaking accomplishment — achieved with assistance from the UH medical school — establishing China’s first-ever accredited academic program in speech and hearing.

“There are 1.3 billion people in China and the government is strategically trying to improve the training of health professionals, especially rehab professionals in China,” said Dr. Zhiyong Luo, Director of Rehabilitation Medicine and professor at KMU. “Most importantly, the people really need rehabilitation.”

During the past year, JABSOM's Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) has focused heavily on building international bridges with speech-language programs in other countries, including Japan, Taiwan and China.

Faculty from KMU toured JABSOM in the company of their Hawai'i hosts, visiting some of the school’s clinical training facilities and sampling the Health Sciences Library’s new stress-reducing activities ("Brain Busters"). They also were introduced to some UH medical students. Dr. Luo also performed a brief demonstration of tai chi, a common relaxation technique in China.

This partnership between KMU and JABSOM has spanned two years, after department chair Henry Lew, MD, PhD, signed a memorandum of understanding with KMU in 2014 to create a speech and hearing program in China. Afterward, professors from the Department of CSD traveled to China to help create the syllabus and curriculum for KMU’s speech and hearing program and to train the faculty in teaching speech pathology.

“Right now, we are proud to say that we have the first accredited speech therapy program in China,” Dr. Luo said.


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