FIU launches Dual Degree healthcare program with Southern Medical University in China.

Even though the Healthcare MBA (HCMBA) in the College of Business Administration at Florida International University (FIU) won’t begin for a few more months, it is already expanding: to China. The relationship between FIU and Southern Medical University (SMU) in Guangzhou—ranked as one of the top medical universities in China—resulted from a chance conversation between FIU Business faculty member Weidong Xia and a friend, an associate dean of the School of Humanity and Management at SMU.

Nancy Borkowski and Weidong Xia at Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China

“When my friend described an SMU program and their desire to develop a collaborative relationship with a U.S. university, I thought our new HCMBA would meet their needs and would bring a great growth opportunity for us,” he said.

Executive Dean Joyce J. Elam and Christos Koulamas, senior associate dean, agreed. The college and SMU have entered into an agreement for SMU’s sixth-year medical students to travel to FIU to earn their MBA in healthcare management.

Nancy Borkowski, director, Healthcare Management Programs in the Chapman Graduate School of Business, and Xia traveled to SMU for a kick-off event announcing the agreement. In the fall 2010, SMU administrators will visit FIU and the first student group will begin their U.S. studies in fall 2011.

Nancy Borkowski and Weidong Xia field questions from medical students at Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China

SMU-FIU graduates will help China achieve ambitious reform goals.

“In 2009, China unveiled a three-year, 850 billion yuan ($124 billion) healthcare reform plan that would provide the foundation for equitable and universal access to essential healthcare for all Chinese citizens,” Borkowski said. “The Chinese government is working toward providing affordable health insurance, improving or constructing new primary healthcare facilities and building or renovating hospitals.”

Medical students at Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China

To achieve the country’s goals, 3,700 community clinics and 11,000 health service centers in urban areas as well as 2,400 centers in underdeveloped urban areas will be built or renovated over the next three years. The Chinese government plans to have at least one clinic in every village to improve access to healthcare services for its citizens. In addition to primary care health centers, 2,000 hospitals at the county level will be constructed and existing hospitals will be expanded to meet the new national standards.

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