HUSTers Talk

Li Zhe: outstanding HUSTer in the International Arena

Oct 8, 2021

The recently concluded Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is the focus of this summer. Besides the spectacle in the arena, there was a professional medical team operating in order. Yeltay Rakhmanov (Chinese name: Li Zhe), a 2016 Kazakh Ph.D. alumnus of Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, was selected by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to be a volunteer doctor for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. As a practicing physician, he worked with 23 medical workers from 13 countries including Argentina, Germany, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Spain to ensure the physical and mental health of athletes during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. This medical volunteer team, consisting of outstanding medical works from all over the world, has fully dedicated themselves to the medical services and pandemic control on the front line of the Olympics, providing a solid backing for all Olympic athletes.

Li Zhe is currently a chief lecturer at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan. From September 2013 to July 2016, he studied for a Ph.D. degree in sports medicine at Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology and participated in clinical practice in Union Hospital and Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology. Today, let’s hear Li Zhe’s touching story as a benevolent and caring doctor.

Story that begins with Tongji and HUST

In 2013, after completing his master’s degree in Europe, Li Zhe was given the opportunity to study in China for a Ph.D. degree with a Chinese government scholarship. Long drawn by the research capabilities, innovative results, and outstanding achievements in the field of medical services of Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Li Zhe chose to come to HUST for a Ph.D. degree in sports medicine without hesitation.

Li Zhe worked with Professor You Hongbo’s team of Tongji Medical College during his stay at HUST, where he studied the formation and differentiation of precartilaginous stem cells at the Biology and Regenerative Medicine Center of Tongji Medical College and actively participated in clinical outpatient practice of sports trauma rehabilitation of cartilage defects treated with stem cell therapy. Besides, he also volunteered to teach master’s courses in sports trauma management and rehabilitation and to organize career days for students in the Departments of Plastic Surgery, Sports Medicine, and Regenerative Medicine. During his three-year stay at Tongji Medical College as a Ph.D. candidate, Li Zhe had not only accumulated valuable medical expertise and clinical experience, but also consolidated his determination and faith in pursuing sports medicine academically.

Li Zhe studying at Tongji Medical College of HUST

Every time he recalled HUST, Li Zhe’s heart brimmed with gratitude and blessings. He has remained in close contact with his supervisor, Professor You Hongbo, and has been expecting cooperation between Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan and HUST in academic research, medical education, and medical services. He said, “The department where I teach shares the same research interests with Professor You Hongbo’s team. Both institutions focus on studying cartilage tissue regeneration. I look forward to strengthening cooperation between us in this field, and also in medical education. For students, it is greatly beneficial for them to go to other schools for exchange and study, as it can improve their competitiveness in the job market and promote their professional development. For teachers, such international exchanges are indispensable, as these opportunities are valuable for academic research and educational innovation.” Li Zhe also suggested that the two universities should strengthen cooperation in medical services. Having learned about the specially established Department of Sports Trauma and the WHO Rehabilitation Training and Research Cooperation Center, he said that cooperation between the two universities would greatly promote the development of sports medicine and rehabilitation service in Kazakhstan.

Li Zhe as a teaching volunteer at Tongji Medical College

Knowledge and benevolence have no bounds

Dedicated to saving lives across the world, Li Zhe has embarked on a global journey of academic pursuit. As early as 2008, Li Zhe got a Ph.D. degree from West Kazakhstan Marat Ospanov State Medical University, and he worked there as a lecturer in the Department of Social Medicine and Health Management after graduation. However, Li Zhe’s academic journey did not end there. Later, he went to Poland and Italy, where he carried out projects such as “An Analysis of Possibilities of Adapting Poland’s Experience in Medical and Social Rehabilitation Development to the Reality of Kazakhstan’s Healthcare and Higher Education” and “Development of Preventive and Adaptive Sports in Kazakhstan from the Perspective of Medicine, Society, and Law”. In 2016, he obtained a Ph.D. degree at HUST before going to Pomeranian University of Applied Sciences in Poland for two years of biomedical pedagogy research.

Li Zhe having academic exchanges with colleagues

From Kazakhstan to China, Italy and Poland, Li Zhe has gone all over Asia and Europe to pursue his academic goals. This has given him the opportunity to have contact with patients from different cultural backgrounds, which not only helped him accumulate abundant clinical experience, but also sharpened his determination to save lives across the world as a caring and benevolent doctor. During his clinical internship at Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Li Zhe participated in sports trauma and clinical rehabilitation practice with Professor You Hongbo’s team, where he received a large number of Chinese and foreign patients with different injuries. A doctor will never judge patients by their races or nationalities. They care about patients’ pain and suffering as if it were their own and make every effort to treat them. As a doctor with over a decade of overseas studying experience, Li Zhe has made a life-long commitment to saving all lives regardless of their nationality.

Working internationally in the Olympic Village

Perhaps it was precisely his rich experience in international exchanges that made Li Zhe stand out among more than 200 applicants to volunteer for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. After going through rounds of selection by the IOC, he made his way into the Olympic Village as a supporter of the Olympians. According to Li Zhe, his medical volunteer team worked mainly at the polyclinic and quarantine and remote consultation center for asymptomatic and mild Covid-19 cases. His colleagues included outstanding doctors from all over the world who have expertise in sports medicine. Working with colleagues from different cultural backgrounds posed challenges for the volunteers’ cross-cultural communication skills. Li Zhe, however, with over a decade of overseas studying and research experience—in particular, his days in an international environment during his stay at Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technologycreated a unique advantage in achieving efficient communication in such a working environment. His cross-cultural experience at Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology has enabled him to hone his medical skills in a multi-cultural background. This explains why, during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Li Zhe could breeze so easily into the international working environment and efficiently cooperate with medical volunteers from different cultural backgrounds.

Li Zhe participating in academic exchanges

Recalling upon the experience of serving as a medical volunteer in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Li Zhe was deeply impressed by the Olympic spirit of unity, friendship, and equality which shines upon the path of construction of a community with a shared future for mankind. Such spirit echoes with the “great love” pursued by all medical workers. As a medical researcher, Li Zhe also actively participates in joint projects of WHO and contributes to the development of global public health. His academic experience at HUST has helped pave the way for his wonderful stories across national borders written with full-hearted passion for the medical undertaking. As he once said, “Given the chance, I hope to lead my team and students to support the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 and make contributions to my second hometown—China!”

In the post-pandemic world, viruses are the common enemy faced by all mankind. Building a community with a shared future for mankind should be held as a global consensus. As the Covid-19 pandemic spreads across the world, Li Zhe has stood up to his responsibilities against all odds to actively respond to and fully practice the call of building a community with a shared future for mankind in the current era. As an exemplar of international talents at HUST, Li Zhe’s story has set a model for the international education of HUST. Over the years, HUST has cultivated a great number of excellent international students just like Li Zhe. They are currently devoting themselves to serving their respective fields in the international arena as proud members of HUST.

Editor: Tang Shiqing, Peng Yumeng

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