VCU to partner with medical school in Kazakhstan

vcu-logoVirginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine announced Wednesday an educational, clinical and research exchange partnership with Kazakh National Medical University in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

The partnership, aimed at developing collaborative research enterprise and improvement of the medical education system, will facilitate faculty and student exchange programs in the areas of medicine and public health.

“The relationship with KNMU extends our highly successful and ongoing relationship with the Republic of Kazakhstan in medicine and medical research,” said Jerome F. Strauss III, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the VCU School of Medicine. “We see many opportunities for collaborative research in high-need areas in Kazakhstan and the U.S., including behavioral and mental health, infectious disease and endocrinology and metabolism.”

VCU faculty will travel to Kazakhstan as visiting professors to initiate collaborative research projects and to submit grant proposals together with KNMU faculty. They also will deliver lectures and potentially develop distance-learning programs during their visits. Opportunities will be available for students to study in Kazakhstan as well.

KNMU faculty and doctoral students will travel to VCU for up to four months at a time to participate and learn from VCU academic and research programs.

“We have a tremendous opportunity to learn from each other,” said Cathy J. Bradley, Ph.D., professor and chair in the Department of Healthcare Policy and Research, VCU School of Medicine. “It is these opportunities that stimulate innovation and cutting-edge research, so I welcome the partnership with KNMU and will strongly encourage the faculty and students to seek out collaborative opportunities.”

Bradley traveled to Kazakhstan in May with Strauss and Askar Chukmaitov, M.D., Ph.D., to discuss opportunities for the partnership, to teach seminars and to identify areas for research collaboration between the two universities, including the areas of infection control, HIV and AIDS, cancer, genetics and psychiatry. Chukmaitov, assistant professor in the Department of Healthcare Policy and Research, VCU School of Medicine, is a graduate of KNMU and will direct the partnership for VCU.

Kazakhstan is situated at the crossroads of europe and Asia, bordering Russia, china and other Central Asian countries. KNMU is the largest medical school in Kazakhstan and offers basic sciences, clinical and public health courses. It also has a university hospital and is affiliated with hospitals and clinics around the city of Almaty.

The partnership builds upon VCU’s existing relationship with Kazakhstan. For instance, in the past two years, several scholars from Kazakhstan have traveled to VCU for an innovative and comprehensive yearlong internship program to explore and learn new principles of health care policy, management and research.

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