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Confucius Institute, IU School of Medicine and WFYI explore health care in two cultures


The program showcases the collaboration between the Indiana University School of Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University in China, the Confucius Institute and WFYI. Guest appearances will be made by IUPUI Chancellor Charles R. Bantz; IU School of Medicine Dean D. Craig Brater, M.D.; Executive Associate Dean of Educational Affairs Maryellen Gusic, M.D.; Palmer MacKie, M.D., assistant professor of clinical medicine; Chemin M. Tate, M.D., assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology; and IU medical students Victoria Fahrenbach and Adam Miller.

“East Treats West” will present a broad perspective on international medicine and how the IU School of Medicine is leading the way to train doctors with an international perspective on health and wellness. The program also will discuss how the strengths of Western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine can blend to improve health care. Fahrenbach and Miller, who have been exchange students at the Sun Yat-sen medical school, IU physicians and medical education specialists will share why the collaboration is important to both cultures.

The motivating force behind this program is the Confucius Institute in Indianapolis and Joe Xu, M.D., Ph.D., professor of anatomy and cell biology at the IU School of Medicine and director of the Confucius Institute at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

In November 2007, the Confucius Institute in Indianapolis was established under an agreement between the Confucius Institute headquarters, IUPUI and Sun Yat-sen University, one of Dr. Xu’s alma maters. The popularity of sharing language and culture with the Asian nation has flourished, and now there are about 300 Confucius Institutes worldwide and nearly 90 in the United States.

Dr. Brater was the first executive from IUPUI to lead a 14-member delegation to Sun Yat-sen University in 2007. The Chinese university is one of the top 10 in the country and has a comprehensive medical center with seven hospitals. Since then, a student and faculty exchange program has allowed two to four IU medical faculty to lecture in China for two-week periods and has supported the exchange of as many as four medical students a year to study for one month in China. On the other hand, eight medical students per year from Sun Yat-sen University will visit IU Medical School for one month. The program continues to grow, and next year 12 students will participate in the exchange program, Dr. Xu said.

In addition, every summer as many as six IU medical students have studied at Sun Yat-sen.

“The Confucius Institute provides an opportunity for our students to learn about another health care system, broaden their perspective on international medicine, see patients in China, while being exposure to Chinese culture,” Dr. Xu said.

“East Treats West” will air on WFYI at:

  • 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 19
  • 5 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20
  • 5 a.m. Monday, Nov. 26
  • 7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 10
  • 5 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11
  • 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15
  • 5 a.m. Monday, Dec. 24

Following its premiere Nov. 19, “East Treats West” will continue to air into December across the WFYI-TV formats. In late November, WFYI producer Shannon Cagle, along with award winning producer and IU graduate Bryan Boyd, will join Dr. Xu in China for the taping of third part of the series. The three part series, which began with “Open Door: China in Indiana” in 2011, explores the growth of Chinese culture in Indiana and the educational opportunities brought to residents of both countries through the Confucius Institute in Indianapolis. Part three will focus on the still-widespread practices of traditional Chinese medicine in China and its growing applications in the United States.