[This is another post sent in by Elizabeth Au and Crystal Shen, who are both spending fellowship years in China. Read their first post here.]
Last week marked the official launch of the UNC-South China STI Research Training Center in Guangzhou, China and the inaugural UNC-South China STI Research Training Course. The new center involves long-standing partnerships among UNC, the Chinese National Center for STD Control, the Chinese Centers for Disease Control, the Guangdong Provincial STD Control Center, and the US Consulate of Guangzhou.
The UNC-South China STI Research Training Course focused on building STI research capacity in South China, bolstered by a global training faculty from UNC, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and the Royal London Hospital, as well as Chinese authorities in STI research.
UNC docs Mike Cohen and Gail Henderson have worked in China since 1979. Over the past 12 years they have mentored Dr. Joe Tucker, whom they recruited back to UNC, where he earned is medical degree, from Harvard to oversee the activities of UNC Project-China, including the training center.
The training course featured a powerhouse lineup of speakers, including over a dozen Tar Heels: Professors Cohen, Henderson, Tucker, Jennifer Smith, Ada Adimora, Sharon Weir, David Wohl, Lisa Hightow-Weidman, Arlene Sena-Soberano, and Mike Emch, infectious disease fellow Jessica Lin, post-doctoral student Kate Muessig, and doctoral student Kumi Smith.
The curricula focused on cutting-edge STI/HIV research and methods, incorporating perspectives from basic science/laboratory work, clinical sciences, epidemiology, and social sciences.
The trainees were encouraged to ask lots of questions. The ultimate goal was to prepare us to plan and execute mentored STI research and be equipped with specific quantitative and qualitative skill sets useful for young investigators. This training course was a strong foundation for building local research capacity in preparation for subsequent UNC-South China STI research projects.
Bringing together all of the partner organizations, the new training center and training course were celebrated with an opening ceremony in grand Chinese fashion at the Guangzhou Provincial STD Control Center on May 26.
Amidst a hail of confetti, red velvet curtains were drawn to reveal the official plaque of the UNC-South China STI Research Training Center. The celebration continued with an a’cappella performance of “Carolina In My Mind” led by UNC post-doc Kate Muessig and Chinese karaoke. [Editor's note: I was promised video! Conveniently, it has not appeared. . .] The excitement of the first evening carried over into the next three days of training.
Special thanks to Dr. Tucker for organizing the wonderful training course and mentoring us throughout the year. Best wishes for the UNC-South China STI Research Training Center!
- Elizabeth and Crystal