Five Foreign Experts Awarded “Tianfu Friendship Award”
Source: Sichuan Daily: July 8, 2015 (translated)
Sichuan Province, China —
The Sichuan Province Government decided to award Tianfu Friendship Award to five foreign experts to recognize their significant contribution to the social-economic development and international cooperation of Sichuan Province.
As recommended by their respective local authorities and departments, the Foreign Expert Introduction and Consulting Committee of Sichuan Province decided to award five foreign experts the Tianfu Friendship Award. The five foreign experts are: Philip David Coates from the UK employed by Sichuan University, Jean-Claude Gelin from France employed by Southwest Jiaotong University, Yun Sung Joong from Korea employed by Mianyang Huari Automotive Company, Yong Jin Choi from Korea employed by Sichuan Kolundoshan Biotechnology company, and William James Burke from the USA employed by the Sichuan Provincial Primary Care Training Center.
“The Tianfu Friendship Award is awarded to William James Burke in appreciation of your enthusiastic support to economic construction and social progress in Sichuan Province, and prominent contributions to international exchange and friendly cooperation between Sichuan and foreign countries.”
Wei Hong, Governor, Sichuan Province, People’s Republic of China. July 7, 2015.
The formal award ceremony was held on September 17, 2015, in Mianyang in conjunction with the International Technology Exhibition. During the ceremony at the Fulejiuzhou International Hotel, also attended by Dr. Royce Keilers, Dr. Bill Burke delivered the following speech:
“Governor Wei Hong, provincial leaders, my distinguished fellow award winners, ladies, and gentlemen:
It is a distinct honor and privilege to accept this prestigious Tianfu Friendship Award on behalf of the International Primary Care Educational Alliance, Directors Keilers and Martin, and our nearly 50 volunteer osteopathic family physicians and other faculty members. Our team has had the pleasure of working with the Health and Family Planning Commission of the Sichuan Province, its International Exchange Center, and the Primary Care Training Center of Sichuan over the past ten years. Together, we have worked with many dedicated physicians, nurses and other administrative professionals and hospital leaders, at locations throughout the province and in the United States, to enhance the delivery of health care in Sichuan.
We have done this by sharing our collective knowledge and experiences to improve access to care, enhance health outcomes and reduce costs to the people of the Sichuan Province through the development of a strong primary care infrastructure. From the initial development of general practice residency programs in your teaching hospitals to the retraining of former subspecialists now providing primary care services in your hospitals and community health centers, our teams have observed remarkable progress in this journey.
We commend you for taking great strides forward and for making the resources available to transform your health care system. All across this great province from Chengdu to Mianyang, and from Nanchong to Pingshan, reform of the healthcare delivery system focusing on the development of a strong primary care base must continue. Similarly, reform of the insurance system to provide financial incentives to your citizens in order for them to seek medical care in community health centers and health stations and to encourage your doctors and other healthcare providers to work in these settings must move forward.
Making medications and tests currently available only to patients seen in the hospital accessible to patients managed in the community health care setting would enhance the quality of care and reduce costs. Monitoring the quality of the healthcare delivered to your fellow citizens and providing additional reimbursement to physicians who meet or exceed quality benchmarks would be another idea to consider introducing. The development of general practice departments in each of your medical schools and university teaching hospitals would demonstrate the importance you place on the specialty of primary care.
After ten years, you are no longer simply colleagues, but good friends, and we will never forget the special bond which was developed as we volunteered our services on behalf of the Sichuan people after the devastating earthquake on May 12, 2008. I have been moved to tears as a result of the devastation to the land and the loss of young lives cut short as they studied in their classrooms, but also renewed by the resilience of the Sichuan people as they rebuilt their villages, their families, and their lives.
Much as the earthquake forever changed the Sichuan Province, it changed all of us. Our team looks forward to continuing our good work together, and we wish you and all of the Sichuan people health and happiness which are invariably connected as we work to Bridge Cultures to Enrich Global Health.