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Posted By: Connie Lieu on June 13, 2012
The Shanghai Children’s Medical Center (SCMC) and Project HOPE have been in partnership since 2002 in sponsoring a Rural Training program where doctors and nurses are brought in from rural areas of China for a one year training fellowship at SCMC. To date, the SCMC and Project HOPE partnership has sponsored 281 doctors and nurses from 29 provinces across China. The program equips these graduates with new knowledge and skills to return to their local hospitals to expand hospital and healthcare professional capabilities and services. What has become a tradition as part of this program is a weekend outing to recognize the fellows for their hard work as they prepare for graduation at the end of June. Project HOPE staff, Charlotte Block, Gu ShuPing and I joined the graduates with Miss Wang from SCMC for the Zhejiang Province outing where we visited the Fuchun Peach Garden and Sky Cloud cave in Tong Lu, and toured three key islands on the amazing Qian Dao Lake (千島湖) aka “Thousand Island Lake” in Chun An.
Although the rural training program is a wonderful program with far reaching benefits to the rural communities, it also requires personal sacrifices on the part of the fellows themselves. As HOPE's Program Director Lily Hsu, and Gu ShuPing noted, "These fellows are leaving behind their families and are enduring financial pressures as well as professional pressure to succeed." It certainly is a noble sacrifice without a doubt and certainly a foresight investment by SCMC and Project HOPE! I also see it as a much needed grass root movement and applaud these sponsors as the success of this program and graduates will benefit many stakeholders and more importantly, it continues to cast a growing web of new knowledge and capabilities to scale medical capabilities across China.
Having spent the weekend with the Rural Fellows Class of 2012 and also well cared for by Gu ShuPing aka “HOPE mom” (Thank you Gu!), I see the excitement, the youthful energy and lots of smiles. I definitely think some of that has to do with the Chinese culture in general. We have a strong innate instinct to put the larger cause and need first before our personal ones, and will endure what is necessary for the larger cause. The larger cause could be the country for some, an institution or disease for others and definitely the family for most. On top of that, we typically do it with a smile even though some may be struggling inside! From that perspective, I’m proud to have a Chinese heritage and even prouder to be a Chinese-American as I get to combine the best of both worlds!