Course Description

HPCH 636


This course is designed for graduate students with strong interests 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 healthcare system in China has also undergone a series of substantial reforms from state-owned health care system to marketization of healthcare and to reintroduction of universal healthcare. Meanwhile, rapid economic growth and societal transition has 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. The proportion of elderly is increasing rapidly because of one-child policy and longer lifespan. Thus China becomes an ideal site to understand the social determinants of health and to compare healthcare systems. Students will attend lectures delivered by faculty in Xiamen University, take field trips to various public health agencies and healthcare organizations, and visit sites of historical, economic and cultural significance for the maximum exposure to global public health experience.

Class time: May 14—May 29, 2016 (in China). In addition, two separate orientations for students (one about Chinese culture and one on public health system in China) will be scheduled in in April 2016. Students will present research in the Graduate Students Research Symposium of Nanjing Medical University. Students’ presentation to SPH faculty and students will be scheduled in September 2018 (see course schedule for details).

Note: This course is highly intensive. We’ll start course activities the next day you arrive in China. Keep in mind that there is 13-hour time difference between Beijing time and U.S. CDT in summer. Plus, the flight from US to China is about 14 hours. If you are not physically fit for international travelling and intensive summer course, you may not be the ideal candidate for this course.

Application for the course: We limit the class size to 10. All students need to have GPA 3.0 or above to be eligible for the class. Students who intend to take this course, please apply through TAMU Study Abroad:   The deadline for application is January 20, 1018. The Study Abroad Office, HSC and School may have scholarships for study-abroad, but you need to contact them directly.

Cost:  The program fee includes study abroad fee, mandatory insurance, honorarium for guest speakers, airport pick-up and drop-off, local transportation during site visits, lodging, most meals, air tickets for within-China trips, including Shanghai to Xiamen, Xiamen to Beijing, and Beijing to Shanghai. The program fee does not cover tuition and fees for this course, international airfare, non-program transportation, some meals, passport and visa application fee. An estimated budget will be around $1,800 program fee plus $1,200 airfare (estimate) and pocket/emergency money. The final budget will be available in early February, 2018.

Cash or credit cards: Credit cards (Visa and Master cards) are accepted in most shopping malls in China, but cash is more welcome by street vendors or roadside shops. In all banks (everywhere in the cities and open Monday to Saturday) in China, you can exchange US $ to Chinese Yuan (CHN) or RMB. The current exchange rate is about $1=6.5 CHN.

Visa to China: You will need a visa to go to China; you can get a visa from Chinese Consulate in Houston, The visa application fee is $140. We’ll obtain an “invitation letter” from Xiamen University for your visa application.

Accommodation: In Xiamen, the students will stay in university hotel inside the campus of Xiamen University (XMU); you will receive a student ID, which allows you to use the dining halls and stores on campus. All the costs while in Xiamen, including hotels, meals, and local transportation are covered by XMU, thanks to the MOU agreement signed by TAMU-School of Public Health and XMU-School of Public Health.

In Shanghai and Beijing, the students will stay in pre-arranged hotels. You are expected to share the room with another student. The hotel is similar to Hampton Inn or Holiday Inn in U.S., clean, equipped with two twin beds, air-conditioning, private bathroom, and Wi-Fi. If you have any special needs about your accommodation, please contact your instructor as soon as possible.

 Air-travel: The air-ticket to China varies substantially in different seasons. You are encouraged to purchase tickets early to save cost. We will depart from Texas on May 14, 2018 and arrive in Shanghai on May 15, 2018. We will depart from Shanghai on May 29, 2019 and arrive in Texas on the same day. Students are also encouraged to travel in a group, so it is convenient for our Chinese hosts do airport pick-up and drop-off. If you arrive or depart at the dates different from our schedule, we will not able to provide ride from/to the airport.

Do your own research: You are encouraged to search for information online regarding travel to China. A well-prepared trip will also be a rewarding one.