Course Description


This seminar is designed for graduate students with strong interest in global health. Over the past 30 years, China has experienced fast economic growth and emerged as a major player in the global community. The public health system in China has also undergone a series of substantial reforms from state-owned health care system to the marketisation of healthcare and to the reintroduction of universal healthcare. Meanwhile, rapid economic growth and the societal transition have resulted in changing epidemiological profiles. For example, more than 80% of deaths in China are attributed to chronic conditions compared to 20% in less than 50 years ago; the child obesity rate is increasing at a faster rate than that in U.S. Thus China becomes an ideal site to understand the social determinants of health and to compare public health systems. Students will attend lectures delivered by faculty in Nanjing Medical University, take field trips to various public health agencies and organisations, and visit sites of historical, economic and cultural significance for the maximum exposure to global public health experience.

Host Academic Institute in China:

The School of Public Health, Nanjing Medical University (NJMU) ( NJMU is in Nanjing, the capital city of Jiangsu Province. Jiangsu, with a population of 74 million, is located in the east coast of China and downstream of Yangtze River. A forerunner of China’s economic development, Jiangsu has the highest GDP per capita in China’s 31 provinces. Nanjing, an ancient city with more than 3,000 years of written history, had served as China’s national capital in 6 dynasties in history. Nanjing has a population of 8.1 million, and is about 4-hour drive or 2-hour train from Shanghai.
NJMU was established in 1954 as one of the first medical universities in China and is also one of the key universities designated by Jiangsu Province. The University has more than 13,000 students and 689 full-time faculty members. In addition to undergrad education, the school offers 48 doctoral degrees and 73 master’s degrees. The school is research oriented and is home to 5 national labs, 12 provincial labs, and hosts 11 research journals.
The School of Public Health in NJMU has 72 full-time faculty members. It consists of the following 6 departments: Toxicology, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Occupational and Environmental Health, Nutrition, Hygiene Analysis and Detection, Social Medicine and Health Education, and Maternal and Child Health. The student body includes 484 undergrad students, 164 master’s students, 45 doctoral students, and 314 MPH students. The school is proud of its excellent education and research quality. The extramural research funding per year exceeds 20 million RMB; the Preventive Medicine Education Center was a nationally designated centre of excellence. The school is also engaged in frequent international exchanges and has established collaborations with universities and research centres in more than 10 countries including US, UK, Australia, Sweden, and Canada. 


Your final grade will be determined according to the following formula:
30%–Class participation and discussion;
40%–Final paper;
30%–Group presentation to SRPH.
5% bonus: Five-minute video of experience in China to be uploaded to YouTube.
Grade: A: 90-100; B: 80-89; C: 70-79; D: 60-69; F< 60

Reading List: Students are expected to complete all the readings prior to the first day of the course in China. The reading serves the following purposes 1) to provide background information on public health in China and 2) to illustrate the cultural diversity and deepen students’ understanding of cross-cultural comparison. Students should demonstrate a grasp of these readings, and actively participate in and contribute to the seminar discussions and debates in China. Readings will be uploaded to Blackboard

Instruction for final paper:

The student can select a topic from the following areas: 1) public health problems in China, 2) social determinants of health, 3) comparative public health studies and 4) global public health issues. The paper should include a background or introduction, sources of data (could be data or systematic lit review), your understanding and analysis of the current situation, and your proposed solution or recommendation.
The paper should be less than 3,000 words (including abstract, not including references) and typed in a word-processing software, double-spaced, 12 points-fonts, one-inch margin, and page numbered. The criteria of evaluation: significance of the topic, the validity of methods and rigour of data source, depth of analysis and discussion, and quality of presentation/writing. The paper should be submitted to Dr Hong by June 28, 4 pm. No late submission is accepted, early submission is welcome.

Instruction for final group presentation:

The class will work as a group to prepare a 30-minute presentation to SRPH faculty and students. In the presentation, students will share their learning experience in the study abroad in China class and highlight the most impressive experiences they had. Audio-video clips and photos are encouraged.

Instruction for 5-minute video:

Students are welcome to develop a less than 5-minute video; you are the actors, director and editor. The video will be uploaded to YouTube as part of SRPH online promotion.