The School of Medicine operates on a global stage, with active collaborations connecting Pittsburgh with China, Colombia, France, Ghana, Honduras, India, Italy, Kazakhstan, Malawi, the Philippines, and many other nations. Medical students and young investigators who train in this milieu encounter a wide variety of influences and discover many opportunities to broaden their horizons. Through School of Medicine programs, international students continue to study and thrive on Pitt's campus while experiencing American and Pittsburgh culture.
In 2012, Pitt's School of Medicine initiated highly successful collaborations with two premier institutions of learning in the People's Republic of China. These programs are continuing to evolve, mature, and thrive. Through the School of Medicine's partnership with Tsinghua University School of Medicine in Beijing, medical students at this most prestigious of Chinese scientific institutions undergo a rigorous two-year biomedical research training program in Pittsburgh before returning to Beijing to complete their medical education.
China's Vice Premier Madame Liu Yandong interacts with Pitt-Tsinghua University scholars during a visit to the University of Pittsburgh.
Since 2012, a significant proportion of students from Tsinghua's medical school spend two years in Pittsburgh immersed in biomedical research in the labs of some of Pitt's most accomplished scientists. The annual Pitt-Tsinghua Joint Symposium provides a platform for faculty and students from each school to share their research findings, tour each other's facilities, and strengthen the partnership between the two institutions. The symposium is held in either Pittsburgh or Beijing, alternating locations each year.
Also in 2012, the School of Medicine began a collaboration with China's prestigious Central South University Xiangya School of Medicine to provide two years of intensive biomedical research training to Xiangya medical students, most of whom have already undergone six years of medical school, including clinical training. In 2014, bolstered by the program's success, Xiangya Hospital formed a partnership with UPMC to establish the Xiangya International Medical Center, which opened the following year and has improved access to high-quality care for patients within the Hunan Province of China and beyond.
Inside Nazarbayev University
The School of Medicine was selected in 2012 to guide the Republic of Kazakhstan's Nazarbayev University (NU) as it established its own medical school, which aims to educate physician-scientists to become this Central Asian nation's next leaders in health care, medical education, and biomedical research. Pitt has partnered with NU to institute a U.S.-style curriculum; design and develop teaching facilities; recruit and train school leadership and faculty; plan organizational and administrative structures, policies, and procedures; and develop courses, syllabi, and clinical experiences with the participation of physician-educators from Kazakhstan and around the globe. The school aims to become a hub of medical education and biomedical research in Central Asia.
In August 2015, the Nazarbayev University School of Medicine (NUSOM) welcomed its first class of 20 students, with new students continuing to enroll annually. As of 2017, NUSOM began accepting international students.
Medical students partake in a white coat ceremony at NUSOM.
The Ri.MED Foundation was created in 2006 as an international partnership among the Italian government, the Region of Sicily, the University of Pittsburgh, and UPMC. It promotes, supports, and leads biomedical research projects, and emphasizes translation of their results into clinical practice.
Since 2007, Italy's Ri.MED Foundation has sponsored research fellowships at Pitt's School of Medicine for young Italian investigators to conduct research across a range of fields, including structural biology, computational biology, drug discovery, vaccine development, regenerative medicine, tissue engineering, molecular imaging, and neuroscience. Ri.MED fellows have gone on to a variety of faculty positions at the School of Medicine; at UPMC-managed ISMETT, a research hospital and center of excellence for organ transplantation and highly specialized therapies in Palermo, Sicily; and at other European institutions. In time, these Ri.MED scientists will form the core faculty of the Biomedical Research and Biotechnology Center, which will be built in Sicily and will rely on the guidance of Pitt's School of Medicine for its scientific direction and staffing.