Building relationships with overseas colleagues

I was invited by my friend and colleague, Dr. Fei Sun, to work with a university in Wuhan, China, in June. I gave a short course (8 lectures) on aging, geriatric clinical skills, and dementia at Huazhong Agricultural University, College of Law & Humanities; I also gave a lecture with Dr. Sun at another nearby university- Huazhong University of Science & Technology, then joined him and esteemed colleague Dr. Nancy Hooyman from the US at an international conference on dementia in Nanjing, China, hosted by the Amity Foundation- a large non-profit, faith-based charity that operates training programs for differently-abled individuals, nursing homes, and dementia caregiving programs across the nation.

I am so pleased to have met so many amazing people. It was truly a fascinating trip- there is so much that is different between the Chinese and American cultures, but there was also a great deal that was the same. Families struggling to plan for caregiving, trying to raise children and care for aging parents, get a proper diagnosis and understand what is happening and what to expect, learning to communicate with adults who are disappearing into a horrible disease that robs them of their memory and their words– these things are the same across all cultural boundaries. We shared experiences, knowledge, and strategies to help our communities, and set the foundation for possible future collaborations in research and practice.

Here is a picture of Fei Sun and me at the Amity Foundation home office in Nanjing:

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Here I am with students and colleagues in Wuhan at HZUA (I met a retired Philosophy Professor and his retired wife- he was turning 101 years old! He said he loved seeing such young enthusiastic college professors!):

Here are a few pictures from the lecture that I did with Dr. Sun for local physicians, psychiatrists, neurologists, researchers, and students at HZAU:

I had the privilege of speaking after Dr. Nancy Hooyman, former Dean of Social Work at University of Washington in the US, and an expert in dementia and caregiving at the 4th Amity International Conference on Senior Service & Training for Elderly Chronic Disease Management conference in Nanjing. Turns out that a colleague from Germany was not able to get his visa at the last minute, so I was asked to do a workshop on behaviors in dementia for practitioners from across China and Mongolia the next day, which of course I was thrilled to do! Our hosts from the Amity Foundation were very kind and we had a wonderful experience at the conference and for the workshop. Dr. Sun and I were interviewed by the regional Jiangsu Province television station for a special on the topic, and we got to do some sightseeing with our hosts!

 

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