An international model for geriatrics program development in China: The Johns Hopkins-Peking Union Medical College experience

Sean X. Leng, Xinping Tian, Xiaohong Liu, Gerald Lazarus, Michele Bellantoni, William Greenough, Linda P. Fried, Ti Shen, Samuel C. Durso

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


China has the world's largest and most rapidly growing older adult population. Recent dramatic socioeconomic changes, including a large number of migrating workers leaving their elderly parents and grandparents behind and the 4:2:1 family structure caused by the one-child policy, have greatly compromised the traditional Chinese family support for older adults. These demographic and socioeconomic factors, the improved living standards, and the quest for higher quality of life are creating human economic pressures. The plight of senior citizens is leading to an unprecedented need for geriatrics expertise in China. To begin to address this need, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (JHU) and Peking Union Medical College (PUMC) have developed a joint international project aimed at establishing a leadership program at the PUMC Hospital that will promote quality geriatrics care, education, and aging research for China. Important components of this initiative include geriatrics competency training for PUMC physicians and nurses in the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology at JHU, establishing a geriatrics demonstration ward at the PUMC Hospital, faculty exchange between JHU and PUMC, and on-site consultation by JHU geriatrics faculty. This article describes the context and history of this ongoing collaboration and important components, progress, challenges, and future prospects, focusing on the JHU experience. Specific and practical recommendations are made for those who plan such international joint ventures. With such unique experiences, it is hoped that this will serve as a useful model for international geriatrics program development for colleagues in the United States and abroad.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1376-1381
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • China
  • aging
  • international geriatrics program development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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