In the midst of a global pandemic and half a world away, faculty at EVMS and Ningxia Medical University (NXMU) in China are enjoying a rich exchange of information.

In January, EVMS completed the last of a series of three international workshops, bringing together 34 faculty from 11 departments across campus to present nearly 50 lectures for their teaching colleagues in China. The project was spearheaded by the EVMS School of Health Professions.

EVMS faculty covered a range of topics for 75 physicians and medical educators from NXMU, says Liang Yu, PhD, Assistant Professor in the School of Health Professions, who organized the events in cooperation with Don Combs, PhD, Vice President and Dean, School of Health Professions.

The virtual workshops were organized within a tele-learning environment created by the EVMS Instructional Design and Technologies team, according to Dr. Yu. During the online meetings, EVMS workshop faculty shared medical education and training resources, distance education experiences with NXMU participants. They also discussed graduate education and medical simulation trainings, mainly focusing on the enhancement of future collaboration plans.

The workshops covered healthcare and epidemiology, healthcare analytics, reproduction and ObGyn, biomedical science graduate education; art therapy and counseling; clinical simulation; immunology and pathology; sleep medicine; community health education; instructional design and medical and health professions education.

The series of workshops represents just one aspect of the relationship cemented in July 2019 when Dr. Combs and other EVMS faculty members visited Ningxia Medical University and signed an agreement between the two institutions for education collaboration.

In December of 2019, the vice president of Ningxia Medical University led a team of faculty members and physicians to visit EVMS and proposed more collaboration projects, including visiting scholars, student exchange projects and online education marketing.

The collaboration is part of an effort to expand the school’s impact and influence on the world stage.

“These workshops are an important example of how EVMS is employing high quality online education programs to expand our support of the global healthcare workforce.” Dr. Combs says.

Dr. Yu praised faculty who took part in the project in spite of the difficulties of Covid-19, language challenges, location and time differences.

“As COVID-19 pandemic continues, many EVMS faculty members feel a strong urge to improve health promotion among underrepresented and underserved population,” Dr. Yu says. “When this project was initiated last fall, aiming to promote medical education to health professionals from minority regions in China, EVMS experts enthusiastically responded and volunteered to give lectures covering a wide variety of topics.

“We have received the course evaluation from participants and learned that the courses significantly advanced their professional development and enhanced their ability to train a new generation of health professionals in China,” Dr Yu says. “Thanks to this first attempt of virtual education delivery in international collaborations, the passion of EVMS family to improve health promotion was achieved by connecting the underserved population to the accessible healthcare resources to meet their most urgent needs.”