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Making global connections through nursing and health innovation programs

A new unit in the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation will work to grow the college’s worldwide reach

Edson College Sr. Associate Dean Craig Thatcher pictured with Dean Xiulan Wang (left) of the Nursing Program at Xinhua College at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China.

Edson College Senior Associate Dean Craig Thatcher (center) pictured with Dean Xiulan Wang (second from left) of the Nursing Program at Xinhua College at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China. Photo courtesy Craig Thatcher

May 09, 2019

Looking to expand its international footprint, the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation at Arizona State University has created a new unit the Global Health Collaboratory.

The collaboratory’s mission is bold: to develop global collegiate partnerships, expand certificate programs to nontraditional students and grow international student and faculty exchange opportunities.

And that’s just the beginning.

Led by Edson College Senior Associate Dean Craig Thatcher, preliminary work to identify potential global collegiate partners is already underway. This spring, Thatcher visited China as part of a 10-day ASU delegation trip that included Kay Faris, senior associate dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business, and Angela Zhao, senior project manager with the Office of the Provost to meet with deans and administrators at several universities there.

“I think there are opportunities for academic partnerships and to recruit more international students interested in health and health care,” said Thatcher. “There are also research opportunities with these universities, too, so I believe there’s a lot of potential mutual benefits for Edson College to be in China.”

The four universities Thatcher toured were:

  • Capital Medical University.

  • Xi’an Jiaotong University.

  • Sichuan University.

  • Xinhua College of Sun Yat-sen University.

He said each institution offers collaborative opportunities and they were all equally open to the higher-level nursing curricula and overall health education expertise Edson College can provide.

“I made this visit as an exploratory step. Next up is to decide what Edson College wants to do with each of these universities and then develop specific agreements to advance what would be best for all involved,” Thatcher said.

As a result of this trip, Edson College will be hosting 22 undergraduate students from Sichuan University on the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus in July to participate in the Global Health Innovators Program, which Thatcher and his team developed specifically for the participants. The program will focus on entrepreneurship and innovation in health and health care, cultural exploration and English language experiences for the students.

In addition to China, Edson College is also actively pursuing programs and partnership opportunities in Vietnam, Honduras and Kenya.

“We want to provide intercultural experiences for domestic students while also giving international students exposure to our culture and health care practices,” said collaboratory Senior Director Amy Fitzgerald. “Our goal is to further the practice of nursing and health care worldwide.”

Closer to home, the unit is also beginning to foster relationships with fellow university partners like Thunderbird School of Global Management and the Graduate College in order to maximize local resources and expertise, especially in the areas of global health management and innovation.  

Ultimately, the collaboratory will help Edson College better respond to the universal demand for advanced level nursing and health education.

“Our new unit aligns with the university’s goals related to global engagement, and while we’ve done some of this work in the past, we want to be more proactive and strategic going forward,” Thatcher said.

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