St Petersburg University develops cooperation with Zhejiang Chinese Medical University

An online meeting has focused on educational and scientific cooperation between universities, academic mobility and the joint development of a course on traditional Chinese medicine.

St Petersburg University has won a mega-grant from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation and will set up a laboratory to investigate the development of mechanisms of atherosclerosis in humans and animals.

Opening the meeting, Ivan Pchelin, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of St Petersburg University, briefed his colleagues on the academic programmes implemented at the University and the opportunities for international cooperation. The University has extensive experience through its academic mobility programmes in medicine with Sweden, Croatia, Italy, Japan and China. Senior students have the opportunity to complete a one-semester internship at a foreign university. Ivan Pchelin also informed that the University offers training for medical students in Russian but plans to launch the programme in English starting next year.

Piotr Yablonsky, Vice-Rector for Medical Activities, emphasised that the University offers not only programmes in medical care and dentistry, but also has a modern clinic with high-precision equipment.  For example, specialists from the Pirogov Clinic of High Medical Technologies have been using the DaVinci Surgical System to conduct complex robotic-assisted surgeries. The Vice-Rector added that the exchange of methodologies and new technologies would ensure maximum efficiency in cooperation between universities.

St Petersburg University has extensive experience in cooperation in the medical field with universities in China: among our partners are Hong Kong Baptist University and Harbin Medical University. However, despite good academic ties with China, we have not yet organised academic exchanges.

Piotr Yablonsky, Vice-Rector for Medical Activities of St Petersburg University

'The first step towards our cooperation as I see it is an exchange of curricula, which will help to understand our similarities and differences,' said Piotr Yablonsky.

Piotr Yablonsky, Vice-Rector for Medical Activities, added that such areas as ophthalmology, pharmacology and cardiac surgery are of particular interest to St Petersburg University in its cooperation with Zhejiang Chinese Medical University. He also came up with an initiative to work together on developing an elective course for Russian-speaking students on the fundamentals of Chinese traditional medicine.

Zhejiang Chinese Medical University is one of the largest medical universities in China and conducts medical practice and research in more than 5,000 areas, said Wang Jingna, Deputy Director of the International Relations Office. There are about 15,000 Chinese students and over 800 international students studying in bachelor’s and master’s programmes.

Zhejiang Chinese Medical University has cooperation agreements with 140 educational organisations in more than 40 countries, with branches in Israel, the Republic of Belarus, Romania, New Zealand, and affiliated institutes in Portugal and the Republic of South Africa. Talking about the main areas of expertise of the university Wang Jingna mentioned bachelor's programmes that are actively developed in China and abroad: traditional Chinese medicine, pharmaceutics and Chinese massage.

During the meeting, representatives of Zhejiang Chinese Medical University expressed their interest in developing a course on traditional medicine and offered to engage their faculty members in delivering lectures in English to students from St Petersburg University. They also proposed organising six-month practice-oriented internships at St Petersburg University for Chinese students in bachelor's and master's programmes, as well as online meetings for medical professionals. In turn, Russian specialists will have the opportunity to publish the results of their research activities on international platforms.

Piotr Yablonsky concluded the meeting by inviting his Chinese colleagues to attend the Congress of the World Society of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeons, which will take place in St Petersburg in September this year.