In November of 2010, the China-US Center on Medical
Professionalism celebrated its fifth anniversary, holding its annual
conference on medical professionalism at the Peking University Health Science
Center. Some 80 attendees participated, testimony to the outstanding leadership
of Center director, Professor Yali Cong. The substance of the two-day sessions
reflected the substantial progress that the collaboration is achieving.
The dialogue at these conferences has evolved from efforts to define
professionalism (how might the concept best be expressed in Chinese) to a more
substantive and nuanced conversation about the state of professionalism in
medical practice. Over the two days, Chinese and American scholars analyzed
comparable and diverging practices in health care, making judgments about the
actual and appropriate roles of medical professionalism.
The initial focus of the sessions was on health care reform. Both China and
the US are currently implementing large scale health insurance programs, seeking
to provide better quality care with broader access to health services while
controlling health care costs.
To lay out some models for research in professionalism and transparency, the
U.S. participants presented findings from their own work for Chinese colleagues
to consider. The conference then moved to consider the research projects of our
Chinese colleagues. To promote professionalism and build research capacity, the
project is currently funding seven investigations.
Finally, to communicate its work to other audiences, project members lectured
at medical schools and hospitals in Shanghai and Dalian. As conference
discussions and site visits demonstrate, the concept of professionalism has
taken on greater importance for our Chinese colleagues; medical schools,
hospitals, medical associations, and the ministries of health are grappling with
translating the concept into practice. The conferences, lectures, and scholarly
research that our Center is supporting are helping to bring fresh perspectives
to problem areas.