On Sept. 10, leaders from USC Chan joined alongside their counterparts at Peking University Health Sciences Center (PUHSC) to welcome the first class of students enrolled in the universities’ new dual-degree program in occupational therapy. With addresses from faculty and student representatives, ribbon cutting and white coat ceremonies and a customary break for morning tea, the program that will train a new generation of Chinese occupational therapists is now officially underway.
“It’s almost like a dream come true,” said ZHOU Mouwang, PUHSC professor of rehabilitation medicine and the director of the rehabilitation medicine department at Peking University Third Hospital. “This program increases the educational level of OT in China from bachelor to doctorate, which is a remarkable milestone to the profession and the history of rehabilitation medicine.”
That milestone has been nearly three years in the making.
In Oct. 2016, USC and PUHSC — both members of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities — announced a partnership to open one of China’s first graduate programs specializing in occupational therapy. Those plans were set in motion two years earlier, in 2014, thanks to the multimillion dollar gift from USC Trustee Ronnie C. Chan MBA ’76 and his wife, Barbara. A portion of the Chan’s gift was earmarked for establishing a new partnership with an elite Chinese university in order to expand occupational therapy research, education and practice in the nation of 1.3 billion people.
During the past three years, delegates from both institutions have been working together to adapt USC Chan’s master’s-level curriculum, recruit potential Chinese students and disseminate best practices and knowledge at various conferences throughout Asia. The faculty members leading the young program at PUHSC, considered among China’s most prestigious higher education institutions, are also Trojans themselves.
“I am very honored to be part of this important collaboration, and excited to celebrate the culmination of more than three years of collaborative work,” said Julie McLaughlin Gray, USC Chan’s associate chair for curriculum and faculty and the director of the China Initiative. “I have every confidence this will make a significant contribution to the development of OT in China, and ultimately, the occupations and health of the Chinese people.”
Occupational therapy as understood in Chinese educational and health care contexts historically falls under a generic “rehabilitation therapy” label. Therefore, students in the USC–PUHSC dual-degree program will take two years of courses at PUHSC to earn a master’s degree in rehabilitation therapy. They will then attend USC’s one-year, post-professional doctorate of occupational therapy (OTD) program in Los Angeles. By the fall of 2022, the first dual-degree graduates will begin nurturing the profession throughout mainland China.
The program promises to continue the educational evolution of occupational therapy in China by ultimately building a workforce capable of providing high-quality clinical services to the estimated 85 million Chinese living with, or at risk for, a disability.
“OT treats every patient with true heart, starts from all aspects of the body and mind, and leads patients to find the meaning of life in the most common way,” said CHEN Gong OTD ’22, one of the six students in the inaugural class. “We are very lucky to be admitted to this program so that we can engage in the cause that is truly beneficial to the people of China.”
In November, the China Initiative team attended the 2nd Peking University International Conference on Medical Humanities: Narrating Birth, Ageing and Death at the Peking University Health Science Center (PUHSC) in Beijing. At the conference, Dr. Julie McLaughlin Gray presented a keynote lecture titled ““Taking My Territory Back:” Narrative Exposure of the Complexity of Non-Compliance in Healing and Recovery Following Stroke.”
The team then attended the 2nd Annual Conference of the Chinese Association of Rehabilitation Medicine (CARM) at the China National Convention Center in Beijing. There, Dr. Julie McLaughlin Gray presented a keynote lecture in the main forum titled “Fieldwork in Occupational Therapy Educational Learning Objectives and Curriculum Design.” In the international Chinese-American rehabilitation forum, Dr. Adley Chan gave a presentation in Chinese titled “Occupational Therapy (OT) and Occupational Science (OS): Overview of the Development in China and the U.S.”
The China Initiative team also toured the traditional Chinese gardens and Weiming Lake at the Peking University main campus, visited the China Rehabilitation Research Center to learn more about their facilities and their connection with Capital Medical University, the first school to offer a WFOT-accredited OT program in China, and visited the Healthy China Research Center to learn about their organization and plans for the future of rehabilitation in China.
The team also held a meeting with PUHSC senior staff and core colleagues to discuss updates on the PUHSC master’s degree in occupational therapy curriculum, updates on faculty training and continue preparations for the Fall 2019 occupational therapy program launch.
Delegation: USC Chan faculty members Julie McLaughlin Gray and Adley Chan, and USC OTD Residents Cameron Chang and Elena Meng.
Purpose: In April, the USC Chan Division once again hosted a delegation from PUHSC at the annual conference of the American Occupational Therapy Association, held in April 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah. In addition to conference-related educational and social activities, the delegation visited the University of Utah’s Department of Occupational and Recreational Therapies to view the teaching, research and clinical practice spaces at the university and its affiliated medical center.
After returning from Salt Lake City to Southern California, the PUHSC team toured the USC Occupational Therapy Faculty Practice, the laboratory space of Dr. Shawn Roll and the clinical practice areas at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey, Calif.
In late April, USC Chan also hosted international visitors in Los Angeles. Dr. LIANG Bing, principal and director at the Suzhou Industrial Park Boai School & Boai Rehabilitation Clinic, and Prof. LI Jianan, professor and physician consultant at the Jiangsu Province Hospital, and former head of the Chinese Association of Rehabilitation Medicine, visited the USC Health Sciences Campus and toured Therapy West, Inc. pediatric clinic in Los Angeles.
Purpose: In March and April, members of the USC Chan China Initiative team traveled to Beijing and Kunming.
In Beijing, they visited the PKU 6th Hospital (Peking Mental Health Institute), the Beijing Haidian District Maternal and Child Health Care Hospital and the Xueyuan Road Community Service Center. The team also held meetings with PUHSC partners to continue developing PUHSC’s occupational therapy graduate education curriculum.
In Kunming, the team attended the 2018 International Occupational Therapy Conference jointly organized by the Hong Kong Institute of Occupational Therapy, Kunming Medical University School of Rehabilitation, the Chinese Association of Rehabilitation Medicine, Hong Kong Polytechnic University and several other groups. The USC Chan Division was also a sponsor of the conference.
At the conference, Dr. Julie McLaughlin Gray gave a keynote lecture titled, “Managing Chronic Conditions Beyond the Clinic: Lifestyle Redesign and Telehealth.” Dr. Adley Chan moderated a session about curriculum design, while Professors Zhou and Wang from the PKU 3rd and 1st Hospitals, respectively, discussed occupational therapy education at PUHSC and our partnership. Dr. Deborah Pitts also gave a presentation titled, “Mediating Impact of Neurocognitive Deficits on Everyday Function for Persons Labeled with Psychiatric Disabilities.”
Delegation: USC Chan faculty members Julie McLaughlin Gray, Adley Chan and Deborah Pitts, and USC OTD Residents Dayna Lee.
Purpose: In December, a USC Chan China Initiative delegation visited Hong Kong, Beijing and Fuzhou.
In Hong Kong, members of the team visited and dined with Mrs. T.H. Chan and her family including USC Trustee Ronnie C. Chan MBA ’76.
In Beijing, team members attended and delivered presentations at the PUHSC Rehabilitation Symposium; attended and delivered presentations at the CARM Annual Conference during the Annual Meeting of which an “Occupational Therapy Sub-Committee” was created; and attended an honorary dinner in recognition of the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between USC Chan and CARM pledging to help China build its rehabilitation base.
In Fuzhou, team members attended and presented at the 3rd China Occupational Therapy Rehabilitation Congress (COTREC).
Delegation: USC Chan faculty members Grace Baranek, Julie McLaughlin Gray, Adley Chan, Shawn Roll, Stacey Schepens Niemiec and Ashley Halle, and USC OTD Residents Dayna Lee and Lily Xu Ruiying