May 31, 2023

UMMS, PKUHSC team up for women's leadership program

A new program aims to help women from Michigan Medicine’s longtime partner institution in China develop leadership skills and advance their careers at their home institution.

The new Preparing and Advancing Women for Leadership in Health Science program will bring three participants each year from Peking University Health Science Center (PKUHSC) for immersive, 12-month training experiences at Michigan Medicine. The first participants are expected to arrive this fall. 

“I am grateful to our partners at PKUHSC for placing their trust in us for a new women’s leadership program. This will not only strengthen our institutional collaboration, but ultimately will help us address the gender imbalance that is so evident across the healthcare field,” said Amy Huang, Global REACH director for Asia programs and the administrative lead for the Joint Institute partnership.

According to the WHO, while women make up 70% of the health workforce—and comprise more than half more than half of all medical, biomedical, and health science degree graduates—they hold just 25% of senior roles in the field. This gap is reflected in both the United States, where, according to one 2021 study, just 15% percent of health system CEOs are women, as well as in China, where, as recently as 2019, women accounted for only 6% of the academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), the country’s premier research organization.

“This program will help us position women to leadership roles and build a community of practice in our institution that will hopefully benefit women throughout China,” said program co-PI Ning Shen, vice president of the PKUHSC-affiliated Peking University Third Hospital. “The advancement of women to leadership is so important especially in China because historically and for social and familial reasons, women are expected to stay at home rather than having a career of their own.”

The new program is being funded by a $1 million grant from the China Medical Board, an American foundation that aims to advance health throughout Asia by strengthening medical, nursing and public health research and education. Over the next three years, nine female faculty members from PKUHSC will spend 12 months in Ann Arbor for focused mentorship, executive coaching, skill-building workshops, and more. The curriculum is being developed by project co-PI Cheryl Moyer, Associate Professor of Learning Health Sciences and Ob-Gyn, who is also a recent recipient of the Sarah Goddard Power Award recognizing contributions to the betterment of women at U-M.

“This is an issue that is near and dear to my heart, so I am thrilled to be part of a process that is going to help lift women up, not just at here at home but in China as well,” Moyer said. “One of the most exciting things for me is the opportunity to learn from and support one another. While the participants are coming to Ann Arbor to learn, I expect they have much to teach us as well.”