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February 4, 2008

Agreements signed with Chinese Medical Schools

On a recent trip to China, Dr. David Heath, President of the SUNY College of Optometry, and Dr. Michael Heiberger, the College's Interim Dean for Academic Affairs, signed affiliation agreements with two of China's most prestigious medical institutions; The Wenzhou Medical College and the Zhejiang University.

The Wenzhou Medical College, Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province is noted for its school of optometry and ophthalmology.  Established in 1987, it was the first department in China committed to optometry and vision science research.  China's central government established the National Optometry Research Center at Wenzhou Medical College in 1993, and it is now widely recognized as a national leader in optometry, vision care and research.

Under the terms of the agreement, SUNY College of Optometry and the Wenzhou Medical College will pursue collaborative education programs, cooperative research, along with faculty and student exchange.  A delegation from Wenzhou will visit SUNY Optometry in May.  Fourth-year SUNY College of Optometry students will begin to participate in  10-week clinical internships at the Wenzhou Medical College's Eye Hospital in June 2008.  The Eye Hospital typically cares for 1,000 outpatients per day.  

The Affiliated Second Hospital of the School of Medicine of Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, (also in Zhejiang Province) will also host SUNY fourth-year student interns in the hospital's Eye Center beginning in the fall of 2009.  The 2nd Affiliated Hospital was first established in 1869, with governmental oversight assumed in 1952.  With over 1.3 million patient visits per year, the hospital and the medical college are nationally renowned for its patient care and research efforts.

Dr. Heath, who has worked with medical universities in China since 1994, notes "The SUNY College of Optometry holds a leadership position in Optometry nationally.  The extension of our program internationally is a natural step and one very much in line with the aspirations of the SUNY system.  These affiliation agreements provide exciting opportunities for faculty and student exchanges, as well as for collaborative research."

Signing Ceremony at Wenzhou Medical College:
L to R: Dr. Michael Heiberger, Dr. David Heath and Dr. Jia Qu, President of the Wenzhou Medical College.

Signing Ceremony at the Zhejiang Univeirsty:
L to R: Dr. Jianhong Lou, Executive Vice Dean, Zhejiang Univeristy School of Medicine,
Dr.  Suzhan Zhang, President-2nd Affiliated Hospital,  Dr. Michael Heiberger, Interim
Vice-President for Academic Affairs SUNY Optometry, Dr. David Heath – President SUNY Optometr