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June 5, 2017

Research Dialogue on Global Health and Migration, Spring 2017

Guangzhou, China

Research Dialogue on Global Health and Migration, Spring 2017

On June 5 and 6, 2017, the U.S.-China Research Group on Global Health and Migration hosted two days of discussions on global health and migration issues at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China. Convened by Professor Jennifer Huang Bouey (Georgetown) and Professor Hao Yuantao (Sun Yat-sen), the research group focused on the challenges of global pandemic preparedness and migrant and refugee health in both countries. The meetings, which followed on two previous workshops held in May 2016 and December 2016 in Washington and Beijing, were framed in the context of recent international developments, such as the emergence of pandemic preparedness as an issue in the G20 and its relevance for China’s One Belt, One Road initiative. The two-day event was highlighted by a keynote address from Dr. Song Tie of the Guangzhou Center for Disease Control (CDC), who introduced the research group to the pandemic prevention system in Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Macau.

Site Visit

On the second day of the workshop, the research group visited a community health clinic in the Yue-xiu district of Guangzhou. During the site visit, the group observed markets predominantly run by African migrants, and met with the chief public health officer and a local clinician. Discussions focused on two topics: 1) pandemic preparedness, specifically how the community clinic contributes to early detections, patient tracing and treatment, and immunization procurements related to pandemics; and 2) how the community clinic helps integrate migrants in preventive and routine medical care. The site visit provided a valuable experience for the research group to understand the basic elements of the public health system in Guangzhou.

Ongoing Research

Over the course of the past year, the research group has been developing several lines of inquiry. The meeting in Guangzhou allowed the group to sharpen their focus on the research areas outlined below.

Changing Paradigm of Global Health: China’s Contribution

China’s role is evolving from an international fund recipient to an active participant and donor in global health efforts. Its recent contributions coincide with the plateau in global health funding from the United States and Europe. Given these developments, the research group drafted the outline of a manuscript to guide an in-depth analysis on the philosophy and experiences China can bring to the global health platform. The group presented the draft to the larger workshop group and hosted a discussion on the timeline and process for revision and submission.

Guangzhou as a Case Study for Pandemic Preparedness

The research group has identified Guangzhou as a case study city to model the province’s pandemic response system globally, in particular in regard to H7N9. Workshop attendees are enthusiastic about working with the Guangzhou CDC on a manuscript that will study the pandemic response system and analyze in depth the different modules in the system. To learn about Guangzhou’s pandemic response system, the research group invited Dr. Song Tie from the Guangzhou CDC to present on the “Challenges, Innovations, and Policies on Pandemic Preparedness in Guangdong Province.” The talk was followed by a discussion on how to evaluate the effectiveness of the policies. Drs. Rebecca Katz and Mike Stoto presented their experiences working with global coalitions on pandemic preparedness. Two follow-up conference calls were scheduled for June to facilitate the manuscript writing.

African Migrants in Guangdong

Over the past year the research group received two active funds to study African migrants in Guangzhou (Uretsky/Bouey/Tu, Cheng/Bouey). The U.S.-funded study focuses on anthropological and sociological aspects of HIV prevention in the target population. The China-funded study focuses on HIV genetic subtypes and behavioral surveys. The group invited Dr. Cheng and Dr. Tu from the Anthropology Department of Sun Yat-sen, Dr. Liang from the Sociology Department, and Dr. Gu from the Epidemiology Department to review the progress of the two studies and discuss innovative methods to overcome challenges in data collection, the sharing process, and potential collaboration in the future. Dr. Bouey presented the latest innovations in respondent-driven sample methods to recruit hidden populations. Dr. Liang described their sociology study among Africans in Guangzhou using RDS methods. Multiple manuscripts will be created based on the data collected in these two projects.

Next Steps

The research group will continue their joint research and produce several manuscripts this fall. They will also prepare for a spring 2018 public workshop in Washington, D.C., that will highlight their research.

Learn more about the U.S.-China Research Dialogue on Global Health and Migration here.