Partnerships in Taiwan grow with visits to Michigan Medicine

Michigan Medicine has hosted two groups of visiting scholars from Taiwan in as many months.

In late October, the leadership team from Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taiwan’s largest healthcare provider, traveled to Ann Arbor for a two-day symposium that included collaborator meetings, research facility tours, and more. That meeting followed the September visit by a group of scientists from Academia Sinica, Taiwan’s premier academic research institution.

“The most important part of any relationship is to form understanding and establishing mutual goals,” said Professor of Surgery Kevin Chung, who has helped to spearhead the partnerships in Taiwan. “The symposiums provide a face-to-face dialogue that cannot be replaced by phone calls or electronic communication. I feel both meetings helped establish more synergies between our institutions.”

With a network of several hospitals and more than 10,000 beds, Chang Gung Taiwan’s largest care provider. A new ten-story research building, set to open next year on the campus in Taipei’s Linkou district, aims to bolster basic research capacity. The Chang Gung delegation, which included representatives and leaders from otolaryngology, pulmonary medicine, and pediatrics, enjoyed behind-the-scenes tours of the UMMS Biomedical Sciences Research Building and the Biological Materials Repository lab at North Campus, among other facilities.

The Oct. 26-27 program also included meetings with UMMS Dean Marschall Runge, Executive Vice Dean for Academic Affairs Carol Bradford, Joe Kolars, Senior Associate Dean for Education & Global Initiatives, Senior Associate Dean for Research Steve Kunkel, Chief Scientific Officer Bishr Omary, and others, as well as individual project presentations from faculty already engaged in joint research between the two institutions.

“I want to thank the medical school community for their enthusiastic participation in the symposium, as well as the leadership for their support,” Chung said. “I fervently hope that we can continue to invest in this precious collaboration and support more of our scientists in developing relationships with Chang Gung Hospital.”

Chang Gung Memorial and Michigan Medicine signed an institutional agreement supporting joint research more than a year ago and Chang Gung offered $3 million over three years to kick-start joint research projects. There are seven funded projects to date with about a dozen more proposals currently under review. Both institutions expressed interest in expanding the partnership to include regular bi-lateral educational exchanges for students and other learners.

“I’m sure the first three years is only the starting phase and we look forward to expanding our collaboration, not only in research, but also in education,” said Chang Gung Memorial Vice Superintendent and Chief of Uro-oncology See-Tong Pang, MD. PhD, who led the visiting delegation. “I see a bright future in our collaboration.”