Frank Hu and His Thinking on Top Universities and their Medical Science Development

April 11, 2016


 “Could you please share with us your suggestions on how HUST becoming a world first-rate university?”

 “How do your group work efficiently and fruitfully? What measures have you taken to attract elites worldwide?”

 “what kind of evaluation system is used in Harvard University for assessing the research and clinical performance of a doctor?”


On the Q&A session of Frank Hu’s lecture (Chinese known as prof.Hu Bingchang) on March 22th,various questions avalanched to the Lifetime professor of Harvard University, who also is the fellow of the American National Academies of Medicine.

Frank Hu has made globally-recognized achievements in the pathogenesis and prevention of diabetes and coronary heart disease, with his papers cited for more than 130,000 times and himself ranked 21st in the H Index (an index for scientists with high citations in the world) in 2016. In his lecture, Prof. Hu Bingchang shared with the audience his experience in Harvard and thinking of first-rate universities and medical science development in new century.

Frank Hu introduced the history and current development of the Harvard University and its Medical School (HMS) as well as the relationship between the HMS and its 14 affiliated hospitals and research institutions. He also illustrated the mission of the Harvard University. He remarked: “The Latin word ‘veritas’, embedded on the badge of the Harvard University, means ‘truth’ in English. It is also embedded on the badge of each school of the Harvard University. And seeking truth is the mission of the Harvard University, which is also the ultimate goal for academy.”

 “Teaching and learning at the Harvard University, endowed with much freedom, emphasizes developing students’ ability of independent thinking and skills in problem solving.” Hu introduced in detail the teaching and learning of undergraduate and postgraduate programs as well as the development plan for post-doctoral degrees. According to him, teaching and learning at Harvard University features unique teaching methods, excellent teaching assistant system, strict mechanism of selection through competition and flexible group work under special tutorial system. He especially introduced the career pathways courses newly established at the HMS. These courses are mainly aimed at offering each student tailored pathways for career development and personalized curriculum based on their interest.

In research, Frank Hu laid emphasis on the research management. He held that the research quality of a university not only depends on the research and innovation ability of the staff, but is closely related to the research management. “The Research Administrations of the HMS, School of Dental Medicine, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health provide comprehensive support for the research staff”, he said.

As for Harvard Catalyst effect, Hu said: “It has connected the HMS with hospitals, thus making it possible to build “core labs” through integrating resources and to embark on interdisciplinary research across different institutions. At the end of the lecture, Prof. Hu elaborated on the cutting-edge scientific issue of “Precision Medicine” and provided suggestions for the development of HUST and the Tongji Medical College.

At the Q&A session, Prof. Hu gave insightful answers toward questions raised: “To become a first-rate university, special attention should be paid to the university’s development in the next 5 to 10 years. University administrators should recognize where they are standing now but can’t content themselves with it. They should also double their effort in introducing high quality professionals and provide supportive environment for them to develop long-term relationship with the university. Talent Team Construction should be carried out in earnest with emphasis on postgraduate and post-doctoral programs. Interdisciplinary cooperation and cross-school cooperation should also be promoted.” “For research team, sufficient fund is a must. The whole team should strive for inclusiveness, innovation and high-efficiency. And the team leader should take into account the growth of each member. A leader should not only distribute tasks, but help team members achieve success during the group work.”

The lecture was presided by Lu Gang, Chancellor of the Party Committee of HUST. 

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