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A longstanding collaboration

Since China first opened its doors to the West, we’ve conducted innovative research here with partner organizations. Among our current projects: how to crowdsource ideas for reaching target audiences about HIV and STIs.


The mission of UNC Project-China is to work collaboratively through research, teaching and service to improve the health of China and promote the University’s presence in China.

UNC Project-China is a collaboration between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Chinese partner organizations, including 10 institutes across the country.

Current research includes work on a vaccine and diagnostic test for syphilis; self-testing for HIV, syphilis, and HCV; and crowdsourcing to engage communities, promote health, and increase testing. Our crowdsourcing work now informs the guidelines for the World Health Organization. We also staff a UNC-South China sexually transmitted diseases research training center and offer short- and medium-term training in enhancing infectious diseases research.

Service activities include staffing, designing, and implementing services for gay men’s health at Southern Medical University; enhancing health services, including clinical and prevention efforts, for African migrants in Guangzhou; and public engagement programs around healthy cities, women leaders, pay-it-forward, and more.

Much of the project’s innovations can be found in its SESH, or Social Entrepreneurship to Spur Health, work. A partnership between UNC and Southern Medical University Dermatology Hospital, SESH aims to create more creative, equitable, and effective health services using crowdsourcing contests and other social entrepreneurship tools. Crowdsourcing is the process of having a group solve a problem and then sharing that solution widely with the public.

Stories from UNC Project-China

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    UNC Project-China’s Visiting Scholars Share Experiences as the Program Prepares for Fourth Cohort

    The entire global health community—faculty and students alike—benefit from the exceptional diversity and wealth of experiences and perspectives brought by international scholars. And they all share one common goal—enriching the lives of others through learning. Collaborative research between Southern Medical University (SMU) and UNC Chapel Hill remains resilient, despite complex relations between the U.S. and … Read more

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    HIV Research in the Time of COVID: Chunyan Li Studies Barriers to PrEP in Guangdong and a Unique Intervention

    Chunyan Li is a social and behavioral researcher in the Department of Health Behavior at the Gillings School of Global Public Health applying socially innovative and community-engaged approaches to promote public health in global settings. For her dissertation, she worked with UNC Project-China to assess barriers to PrEP in the province of Guangdong. She also tested … Read more

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    Pay-it-forward model increases STI testing and community health

    Watch animation video explaining UNC Project-China’s STI pay-it-forward study. Gonorrhea and chlamydia are two common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that increase HIV risk among many key populations, including gay and bisexual men. But most men are not tested for STIs, in part because of the cost and low community engagement. A new study from researchers … Read more

  • Report from China: Linghua Li, MD, PhD, shares COVID-19 observations

    Linghua Li, MD, PhD, is an infectious disease specialist and AIDS clinic director at Eighth People’s Hospital in Guangzhou, China. She did two years of postdoctoral training in infectious diseases at Duke University and at UNC, working with the Institute’s David Wohl, MD. Here, she reports from the frontlines on dealing with COVID-19 in Guangzhou, which is about 600 miles from … Read more