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December 29, 2009

SUNY Optometry Establishes Confucius Institute

The SUNY College of Optometry recently received its first annual grant of $150,000 from the Chinese Government to establish a Confucius Institute at the midtown Manhattan-based College.  Confucius institutes are now funded at 282 institutions worldwide for the purpose of stimulating learning about Chinese language and culture.  Each funded institution partners with an institution of higher education in China.  SUNY College of Optometry’s partner is Wenzhou Medical College with which SUNY Optometry already has several other programmatic initiatives.

According to Dr. Michael Heiberger, Institute Director: “The Institute at SUNY College of Optometry will provide programs and courses in Chinese language and culture with special emphasis on the healthcare system in China. Classes will be open to the public and will be particularly applicable for anyone in the New York metropolitan area who plans on working or studying in any of the health care fields or in biomedical research in China.  The learning experience will enable these individuals to have a better understanding of the culture of providers and patients and of existing practices such as traditional Chinese medicine.”

The Confucius Institute at SUNY College of Optometry is not only the first such entity established at an optometric institution, it is also the first one established at a specialized health professions institution of any type.