On December 8 and 9, 2016, the Georgetown University Initiative for U.S.-China Dialogue research group on global health hosted two days of expert discussions on global health and migration issues at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Convened by Professor Jennifer Huang Bouey (Georgetown) and Professor Cheng Feng (Tsinghua), the research group focused on the challenges of global pandemic preparedness and migrant and refugee health in both countries. The meetings, which followed on a first workshop held in Washington, D.C., in May 2016, brought in leading scholars from around China and included a policy consultation with Beijing-area stakeholders from the government and private sectors.
Hosted by the Gates Foundation, the policy consultation solicited input from a range of stakeholders on the group’s developing research agenda. There was general agreement that governments and world health organizations must work beyond preventive measures for pandemics and infectious diseases, by, for example, improving the effectiveness of health systems in response to disease outbreaks and communicating risks to the general public. The discussion also addressed the need for deeper intergovernmental cooperation on regulatory discussions, including U.S.-China collaboration through their respective CDC agencies and other public health institutions.
Developing Research Agenda
With input from two sets of meetings in Washington and Beijing, the research group on global health has narrowed its focus to three critical areas: the changing patterns of transnational migration and their challenges to health security and local health systems; the changing paradigm of global health given the rapid scale-up of health and humanitarian aid from China; and comparison studies of pandemic preparedness in U.S. and Chinese cities, as well as cities in a series of developing nations. The research group proposed using Guangzhou, China, as a case study for transnational migration. They also discussed developing a framework to assess the strengths and weakness of public health preparedness in both the United States and China.
The research group agreed to pursue joint research projects around these topics in the coming months and to reconvene in the summer of 2017.