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HSPH Announces Collaboration with Tsinghua Vanke School of Public Health in China

The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health announced a new collaboration with a Chinese university Wednesday.
The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health announced a new collaboration with a Chinese university Wednesday. By Ryan N. Gajarawala
By Ariel H. Kim and Anjeli R. Macaranas, Crimson Staff Writers

Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health announced a new academic and research collaboration with Tsinghua University’s Vanke School of Public Health in Beijing in a press release on Wednesday.

Through the partnership, the institutions intend to develop a joint course, identify joint research opportunities, and create a visiting scholars program to enable researchers from Vanke SPH to spend time at Harvard.

The collaboration was announced at an event Wednesday hosted by the Asia Society Hong Kong Center featuring University Provost Alan M. Garber ’76, HSPH Dean Michelle A. Williams, Vanke SPH Dean Margaret Chan, and Tsinghua University Provost Yang Bin.

In response to the pandemic, Williams and Chan have also jointly founded a Global Coalition of Deans of Schools of Public Health, per the press release. The Coalition will work to promote international collaborations in global health research and education among universities, industry, and governments.

Williams emphasized the importance of such global partnerships in endeavors to combat major health crises.

“We have seen more clearly than ever over this past year that threats ranging from microscopic pathogens all the way up to planet-wide shifts in climate can leap borders and threaten the health of billions,” she said in the press release. “Only by working together can we develop—and then enact—a global health security agenda that predicts, prepares for, and responds to these threats.”

Recently, HSPH has strengthened and expanded its numerous international partnerships to address a slew of global health issues.

In November, HSPH launched a bilateral exchange program with Zhejiang University School of Medicine in Eastern China that seeks to train Chinese doctors in clinical research, particularly clinical epidemiology.

The Botswana-Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership — a collaborative research and training initiative that is Africa’s largest HIV/AIDS lab — was the first to sequence the new variant of SARS-CoV-2, dubbed Omicron.

In her prepared remarks for the event, a copy of which were provided to The Crimson in advance by HSPH, Williams stressed the significance of the present moment.

“Now is the time to show the world that meaningful collaboration can lead to genuine solutions,” she said. “Now is the time to build a multilateral coalition committed to tackling the biggest challenges in public health.”

In his prepared remarks, also provided to The Crimson prior to the event by HSPH, Garber said that “this initiative arrives at just the right moment.”

“In the face of these historically high stakes, academic scientists have an obligation to join with partners in the public and private sectors — and with other research institutions worldwide — to bring forward new solutions,” he added. “We need to think creatively and collaboratively, for the sake of our planet and the health of the people on it.”

—Staff writer Ariel H. Kim can be reached at ariel.kim@thecrimson.com.

—Staff writer Anjeli R. Macaranas can be reached at anjeli.macaranas@thecrimson.com.

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