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Board gives the go-ahead to overseas medical program

Photo courtesy of Jacques Bradwejn

The University of Ottawa will partner with Shanghai Jiao Tong University for a joint medical program to begin next fall, our Board of Governors decided at its latest meeting.

The new sister school in Shanghai, China will adopt the U of O’s four-year medical studies curriculum. The program will be open to 30 Chinese students who want to study medicine. Applicants will have to meet the U of O’s admission requirements and be fluent in English. The joint program will be fully funded by Jiao Tong University.

Nicknamed the “Eastern MIT,” Jiao Tong is one of the top universities in China.

It will be the first time a North American medical curriculum is implemented at a Chinese university, according to Jacques Bradwejn, the U of O’s dean of medicine.

“Many Ivy League schools in the United States, as well as many schools in Canada, have wanted to do this,” said Bradwejn. “This new partnership will have many benefits for both University of Ottawa and Shanghai students.”

So far the program is only open to Chinese students, but students from the U of O may have the opportunity to enrol in the joint program in the near future. Beginning in 2015, Canadian students will be able to attend summer school programs in Shanghai. While most of the courses will be taught in English, students will have the opportunity to take a Mandarin language class, and a course in traditional Chinese medicine.

Elise Azzi, president of the Aesculapian Society, the student group for the U of O’s Faculty of Medicine, calls the partnership “an exciting endeavour.”

“It allows the embodiment of the true meaning of global health citizens in today’s modern world as we form direct channels of communication and interaction with our counterparts across the globe,” Azzi wrote in an email.

In Vision 2020, a strategic plan that outlines the U of O’s goals for the decade, the university expresses a desire to “build on the exceptional relationships” with affiliated partners.

The U of O has a history of agreements with Shanghai universities, including a 2011 accord to establish a joint mass spectrometry and proteomics laboratory. A delegation from Ottawa visited Jiao Tong last October, where the two schools committed to a $2-million joint research fund for medical education and training over five years.

The U of O has also collaborated with schools in Paris, Japan, and Israel in a number of different faculties.