China, as the home to one fifth of the world’s population and the third largest economy in the world, is now facing unprecedented opportunities and challenges to improve the health of its people. The fragmented and under-developed health system, the large disparity in health status across different sub-populations, the ongoing epidemiological transition, and the worsening environmental condition, etc., all point to an immediate need for a large-scale health reform and a large number of well-trained health researchers and professionals to assist in a variety of ways, including research, education, and public policy decision making. Unfortunately, China is now facing a shortage of such professionals with the needed skills to meet the country’s challenges, especially in the areas of health policy and management.
In 2008, with the guidance and financial support from CMB, an independent US foundation that aims to advance health in China and other Asian countries, a group of expatriate Chinese young scholars from several top U.S. public health schools and research institutes gathered together and founded the China Health Policy and Management Society (CHPAMS) in Cambridge, MA. As an independent nonprofit organization, CHPAMS was created with the overarching goal to improve the health of Chinese people through advancing health research in China. In particular, it aims to foster academic exchanges and collaborations among health scholars from the overseas and China academic communities, to facilitate young scholars who are now working or studying overseas to work in China, and to help building the health research capacities of China institutions.
Since the initiation of this organization, we have successfully formed a Planning Committee for this Society in late 2008. In February 2009, still being a very new organization, CHPAMS got the opportunity to successfully accomplish its first mission: it recruited about ten young health scholars from the U.S. and China to participate in the Second West Lake Forum on Health Policy in China, a conference funded by the CMB and hosted by Zhejiang Medical University. This conference brought together academics and policy-makers to share knowledge, analysis, and experiences, and engaged more than 100 health leaders from China, including Vice-Chairman of the People’s Congress Professor Han Qide and senior leaders from the Ministry of Health and China’s medical universities. During this conference, the initiatives and mission of CHPAMS were highly appraised by health scholars and policy makers by conference attendees. It was a consensus among most researchers and policy decision-makers that that this organization, if successful, would serve an urgent need for a great cause, at a critical time.
In the end of 2009, the Society received a two-year funding contract from CMB to support the ongoing activities and events including: 1) building CHPAMS’ official website; 2) expanding CHPAMS’ member network; and 3) publishing and circulating CHPAMS’ newsletters. Meanwhile, we are also actively planning for other activities, including the formation of an advisory board, the merge with several other organizations with similar value and mission, and organizing seminars given by top health scholars when appropriate opportunities arise.