Eyes News (September 23, 2019): Stride forward towards the Goal of a High-level Medical University with Distinctive Characteristics - Interview with Liang Guiyou, President of Guizhou Medical University

Reporter: As a medical university with outstanding school characteristics and advantages, Guizhou Medical University (GMU) insists on talent training and scientific research, serves regional health undertakings and economic and social development, and continuously trains and provides medical technical talents at all levels for the society. Of course, it has also gained a number of honors. Could you introduce the basic situation of GMU?

Liang Guiyou: Founded as the National Guiyang Medical College in 1938, Guizhou Medical University (GMU) is one of the nine higher medical schools directly under the Ministry of Education and a precedent for higher education in Guizhou. The first president was Professor Li Zongen, an early Chinese tropical pathologist and medical educator from Peking Union Medical College. A large number of well-known domestic experts and scholars with excellent academic achievements gathered in the National Guiyang Medical College in the early days of its establishment, making it become the well-known “Another Peking Union Medical College” at that time. It was renamed Guiyang Medical College in 1950 and Guizhou Medical University in 2015. It is the only provincial key university in Guizhou with a complete medical talent training system for undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students. It has two campuses now, namely the North Campus and the South Campus, covering an area of 1,868 acres with 21 teaching units, 37 undergraduate majors and more than 22,300 full-time students (including more than 2,100 postgraduates and more than 300 international students), as well as more than 58,500 graduates (including more than 7,300 ones with master’s or doctoral degrees) cultivated accumulatively for the society. There are 390 teachers with doctoral degrees and 1,603 ones with senior professional and technical titles in the teaching staff. There are 8 and 11 hospitals affiliated directly and indirectly respectively to GMU, as well as 6 teaching hospitals and 82 bases of practice and teaching for non-clinical majors.

Guizhou Medical University (photo provided by the Management Committee of Huaxi University Town)

GMU became one of the first universities in China to be approved to grant master’s degree in 1981 and one of the universities to grant doctoral degrees in 2003. It was also approved to grant doctoral degrees in the first-level discipline of Basic Medical Sciences in 2011 and in the first-level discipline of Public Health and Preventive Medicine and in the major of Clinical Medicine in 2019. There are respectively 8 and 7 units to be approved to grant master’s degree in the first-level disciplines and in the related majors.

In 2016, GMU was approved to build the only national key laboratory in Guizhou Province, namely, the State Key Laboratory of Functions and Applications of Medicinal Plants. In addition, there are also the National Engineering Research Center of Miao’s Medicines, two national platforms of the International Science and Technology Cooperation Base, two key laboratories under the Ministry of Education, 25 provincial and ministerial platforms, as well as two national experimental teaching demonstration centers at GMU.

Gate of Guizhou Medical University (photo provided by the Management Committee of Huaxi University Town)

GMU won 57 national, provincial and ministerial scientific and technological achievement awards from 2011 to 2018, including the second prize for National Scientific and Technological Progress Award (once), the Highest Scientific and Technological Award in Guizhou (once), and the first prize of the Scientific and Technological Award in Guizhou (for five times). It has also undertaken more than 2,580 scientific research projects, more than 350 of which are key projects of the National Natural Science Foundation of China and those of the National Science and Technology Pillar Program, as well as the major special projects of the Ministry of Science and Technology. GMU made a historic breakthrough in the number (80) of new projects of the National Natural Science Foundation of China in 2019, ranking second in Guizhou for the first time.

In 2019, the discipline of Clinical Medicine of GMU stepped into the world’s top 1% of ESI, achieving a breakthrough in ESI discipline construction, becoming one of four disciplines into the world’s top 1% of ESI in Guizhou Province, and indicating that this discipline of GMU has high international academic influence.

GMU has made full use of the advantages of teaching, research and medicine, served the local economic and social development as its responsibility, and built the largest medical service system in Guizhou for more than 80 years with the distinctive characteristics in the fields of endemic disease research, research and development of traditional Chinese medicines and ethnic medicines, tissue engineering of stem cells, biomedical research, pathogenic biology research, and transformation of achievements. Especially in 2019, Peking Union Medical College agreed and strongly supported GMU to hold the “Union Class” to create excellent products for the new era, so as to provide high-quality health talents for the high-quality development of Guizhou in the new era, promote the construction of “Healthy Guizhou”, help Guizhou in the poverty alleviation, and make due contributions to the modernization of education in the strong province of Guizhou with distinctive education characteristics.

Reporter: Chen Baosheng, Minister of Education, has emphasized that the universities shall return to their own essential functions and regard “talent cultivation” as the fundamental task at the National Undergraduate Education Work Conference in the New Era. What is the philosophy of GMU in cultivating talents? What are the good practices?

Liang Guiyou: the university is comprehensive, but the first task is to cultivate talents. GMU has always adhered to the central position of talent cultivation, and strived to solve the fundamental question of “who is to be cultivated, how to cultivate them, and for whom we cultivate them”, guaranteeing the central position of talent training and the effective implementation of various teaching tasks from three perspectives of philosophy, policy support and attention of the leadership.

Liang Guiyou, President of Guizhou Medical University

Firstly, we put the undergraduate talent training into an important agenda. The Party Committee of GMU and the General Office of GMU investigate the undergraduate teaching work from time to time, and the leaders in charge regularly chair the special undergraduate teaching conferences. A three-level teaching organization and management system of “University - School - Teaching and Research Office (Laboratory)” has been established to continuously revise and improve the educational teaching management system and documents.

Secondly, we implement the strategy of “More Influential University with More Excellent Talents”. GMU will make the plans, improve the system, increase the investment, adhere to the combination of introduction and cultivation of talents, implement the cultivation project of “Famous Teachers” and “Excellent Young Talents”, recruit more outstanding talents, strengthen the team building of the teaching staff, improve the professional level and teaching ability of teachers, and cultivate the excellent backbone teachers to build a number of teaching and research innovation teams.

Thirdly, we ensure the investment in teaching resources conscientiously. The budget expenditure should guarantee the following aspects: cost of teaching, remunerations for teachers and teaching reform, building of specialties, educational research, and work related to students’ ability in making innovation and entrepreneurship. We implemented the method of inter-selection of courses and mutual recognition of credit points at Huaxi University Town. We encourage the provision of premium courses and online courses to promote the whole level of course resources in our university.

Fourthly, we insist on the basic principle of cultivating high-quality application-type talents. Our university has formed the high-quality medical talents cultivation mode with the characteristics of “fundamental theories/knowledge/skills”, “strict requirement/attitude/work style” and “early practice/scientific research/clinical work”, stressing on the combination of teaching of theory and practical guidance; and constructed a talents cultivation management system of instructing the student based on different types/specialties/subjects.

Fifthly, we give priority to the moral education. We regard benevolence in serving the society as the goal of our education and make efforts to improve the morality and work style of teachers. Specifically, we launched the educational activities (Study of political theory/professional knowledge/humanities and social sciences), establishment of four civilized places (Civilized classroom/bedroom/canteen/campus), and theme activities of cultivation (School motto, habit, morality & law, practice, culture and gratitude).

Sixthly, we push forward the reform in education and teaching. In the form of establishing the “Union Class”, we adopted the ideas of elite teaching, small class system and elimination of the last one held by PUMC, implemented joint cultivation and supervision in the whole course of study. We made a sound cultivation scheme complying with the law of modern medical education aimed to produce remarkable medical talents with generous humanistic spirit, a strong sense of social responsibility, a solid foundation of basic knowledge/theory/skill, a global vision, strong ability of making innovation and sustainable development, and who are competent in the work of clinical medicine and medical research. So we can promote the reform in the education and teaching of medicine.

Reporter: Guizhou Medical University has been making efforts to build a “high-level medical university of distinctive characteristics which is first-class in the western region and influential both at home and abroad” since it changed name in 2015. Which concrete actions have your school taken in the development of disciplines?

Liang Guiyou: Firstly, we strengthened the introduction and attraction of talents. We set up a complete and sound mechanism for the introduction/management/assessment/incentivizing of talents by revising the high-level talent introduction methods like Temporary Methods of Guizhou Medical University for the Management of High-level Talents; introduced discipline-leading talents, young backbone talents and high-level rare talents through such channels as talent fair and public recruitment, and engaged high-level domestic famous scholars in a flexible way and helped to find jobs for the spouses of introduced doctors. Over the past 5 years, we have introduced more than 150 high-level talents and the number of people with a doctorate has risen to 390; and introduced 24 famous experts, scholars and academician as well as the winners of the Nobel Prize at home and abroad in a flexible way.

Secondly, we strengthened the building of a strong team of teachers. We have increased the efforts in this regard by implementing the cultivation project of “master teachers" and “excellent young teachers” and implementing the talent cultivation plan of “Green Seedling”. We revised the annual examination and management method for teachers and set up an examination and assessment mechanism in different categories. We set up a teaching development centre for teachers, made annual teacher training plans and organized their implementation; and also conducted educational & teaching activities like teaching training and teaching exchanges. The experiment teaching team in preclinical medicine, teaching team in internal medicine, teaching team in medical laboratory science and teaching team in stomatology of our university were established as the key projects for development (including cultivation) for the first-class universities (Phase I) for the year of 2017 in Guizhou Province.

Liang Guiyou (the first one from the left) was making his rounds in the wards

Thirdly, we strengthen scientific research. We promote the construction of an informatization platform for scientific and technological management and have established a scientific research management system. We have formulated and revised Methods for Science and Technology Awards of Guizhou Medical University, Interim Measures for Construction and Management of Key Laboratories and Engineering Research Centers of Guizhou Medical University and other management documents. We integrate scientific manpower resources and strengthen research team building and interdisciplinary cooperation to promote collaborative innovation and integrative development. Meanwhile, we also increase the application number of national-level scientific research projects and strengthen application guidance and process management by means of expanding project application channels and leading joint applications, in order to improve both the quantity and quality of our national-level scientific research projects, research papers and achievements.

Fourthly, we strengthen team and platform construction. We organize the application, review, assessment and acceptance of scientific and technological platform construction projects and innovative teams to accomplish relevant management and acceptance work. We have also stepped up efforts in building the “State Key Laboratory of Functions and Application of Medicinal Plants”, Engineering Research Center for the Development and Application of Ethnic Medicine and TCM (Ministry of Education) and other research platforms. In 2017, CAMS Key Laboratory of Adult Stem Cell Transformation Research was settled at GMU.

Fifthly, we strengthen exchanges and cooperation. We have promoted exchanges and cooperation with Soochow University and Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College (CAMS & PUMC) to strengthen the effectiveness of partner assistance. We organized the 34th International Conference on Fluorine Studies and the series of sub-activities of “China-ASEAN Education Cooperation Week” and established the China-ASEAN University Alliance on Medical Education together with Soochow University. We make great efforts in government-funded overseas scholarship programs and “Thousand Talent Program for Overseas Study”, and the number of people selected in the government-funded overseas scholarship programs ranks top among universities and colleges of the whole province for four years in a row. As a result, our bilingual teaching level and the teaching level of our teachers in English for overseas students have been improved.

Reporter: As we know, GMU is the one and only provincial key university with a complete cultivation system for medical personnel covering bachelors, masters and doctors of medicine in Guizhou Province. And since establishment, GMU has given full play to its advantages in teaching, research and medical service and taken it as its own duty to serve local economic and social development. Under the overall background that various universities and colleges are experiencing transformation in the new era full of rapid changes, do you have some experience and methods to share with us?

Liang Guiyou: As an applied university, we explored transformation development mainly from the following aspects:

First of all, we strengthen connotation construction to improve our competitiveness. Led by discipline construction, we promote the development of key disciplines to a higher level to lead the construction of other disciplines and improve our overall discipline strength. We were approved to grant doctoral degrees in 2003, approved to grant doctoral degrees for first-level disciplines of preclinical medicine in 2011 and approved to grant doctoral degrees for clinical medicine science and first-level discipline of public health and preventive medicine in 2018.

Secondly, we combine with reform to accelerate development. Based on Statutes of Guizhou Medical University, we have revised internal management systems and documents and established relevant mechanisms at the right time to promote comprehensive reform in education and teaching. In terms of teaching reform, we inherit GMU’s excellent teaching traditions while learning from the overseas advanced concepts; in terms of talent cultivation, we have established the disease-based and health-centered philosophy and revise our talent cultivation programs in time to cultivate talents who can serve the country, economy and society; in terms of discipline construction, we break the boundaries of administrative management among various departments and build discipline groups for cluster development.

Thirdly, we insist on innovation-driven development and promote the commercialization of research findings. We strive to improve our comprehensive strength based on innovation. We established the Bo’an Maker Space, setting up a startup platform and creating an innovation and entrepreneurship cultivation system to promote incubation and commercialization of outcomes of innovation and entrepreneurship. We have accomplished the affirmation of Bo’an Maker Space as the “Innovation and Entrepreneurship Incubation Platform of Gui’an New Area”, becoming a member of the “Innovation & Entrepreneurship Education Alliance of China”. We have signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Guizhou Provincial Investment Promotion Bureau, signed a MoU on cooperation with ICON Company of the US and cooperated with organizations and enterprises like Buffalo Robot to vigorously develop rehabilitation and health care industry. We have also established a standardized health care product innovation and R&D platform at Key Laboratory of Chemistry for Natural Products to develop health care products and apply for national patents.

Fourthly, we carry out cooperation and exchanges to promote reform. Taking the opportunity that CAMS & PUMC and Soochow University offer partner assistance to us, we have launched the teaching reform program of outstanding physicians and clinical medicine innovation program (“PUMC Program” for short). So far, all of the 32 freshmen for the first session of the “PUMC Program” have been enrolled. Among them, the highest score in the college entrance exams is 614 (114 points higher than the enrollment cut-off point for the first batch of universities) and the lowest score is 579 (109 points higher than the enrollment cut-off point for the first batch of universities). The quality of students has been largely improved and they started their new journey to become top-notch talents in medicine from here.

Fifthly, we serve the society to promote development. We have carried out relevant work of job-transfer training for general practitioners in primary-level medical and health institutions in Guizhou Province, and completed the training of trainees taking part in the medical licensing examinations required for (assistant) practicing doctors and general assistant practicing doctors in primary-level medical and health institutions. We actively provide training on key personnel in primary-level medical and health institutions as well as village doctors. And we have completed the identification of various forensic cases. Our Forensic Center is the first forensic identification institution in Guizhou passing national-level certification and carries out safety evaluation on chemicals and health-related products worldwide. (Xiong Wei)