2018 World Heart Federation “Emerging Leaders” Convene at Duke Kunshan University | Duke Kunshan University
2018 World Heart Federation “Emerging Leaders” Convene at Duke Kunshan University

WHF EL Faculty and Leaders

Duke Kunshan University was pleased to host the 5th cycle of the Emerging Leaders (EL) Program. The program, which was created by the World Heart Federation (WHF), is a gathering of Emerging Leaders from 18 countries, selected from a global applicant pool. These experts convened at Duke Kunshan to tackle the challenges doctors face in their work with stroke patients. Duke Kunshan faculty worked in tandem with the program’s participants, who included clinical researchers, nutritionists, speech therapists, cardiologists, neurologists, and more. This combination of skills and experience emphasized the program’s strong diversity and value, and challenged the participants in their daily practice of medicine. Duke Kunshan and the WHF hope to bring the prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of stroke patients to new heights.

This year, the program was officially renamed the “Salim Yusuf Emerging Leaders Program” in recognition of Prof. Salim Yusuf, the Emerging Leaders program’s founder, for his contribution to the program since its founding in 2014 and his support of establishing excellence in leadership. For the first time, the World Stroke Organization partnered with WHF to co-organize the program this year with a theme on “Stroke Prevention, Management, and Rehabilitation.”   

Another highlight of this year’s program was a Stroke Policy and Research Symposium hosted by Prof. Lijing Yan, head of non-communicable diseases research at Duke Kunshan Global Health Research Center. The Emerging Leaders, Duke Kunshan global health faculty and researchers, and over a hundred other health officials and professionals participated in the symposium.

Symposium Leaders and Speakers

(Top to Bottom: Christopher Chen, Denis Simon, Mark Huffman, Craig Anderson, Pablo Perel, Sharon Mitchell, Qi Fang, Jiguang Wang, Weiliang Tan, Lijing Yan)

During the symposium, speakers from various global- and national-level organizations spoke of their fight to reduce the burden caused by strokes. Among the welcome speakers were Denis Simon (Executive Vice Chancellor of Duke Kunshan), Pablo Perel (World Heart Federation), and Christopher Chen (World Stroke Organization). Weiliang Tan (Suzhou Health and Family Planning Commission) and Craig Anderson (the George Institute of China) gave the keynote speeches. Qi Fang (Associate Dean of the First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University) and Jiguang Wang (Director of the Shanghai Institute of Hypertension) joined the keynote speakers for the panel discussion moderated by Prof. Mark Huffman from the Northwestern University, Chicago, USA.

Panel Discussion (Left to Right: Mark Huffman, Craig Anderson, Jiguang Wang, Qi Fang, Weiliang Tan) 

The speakers provided an overview of the opportunities and challenges present in the research and health policy of strokes. As China directs its focus to patient-centered care and medical reform, these speeches offered a perspective on how quality research can translate into practical applications. Historically, practitioners across the world have relied on strong governance, organizational structures, buy-ins from ministries and policymakers, as well as a feasibility analysis on healthcare and communities for these applications. The challenges of addressing the knowledge-practice gap were a core area of discussion for the symposium and the Emerging Leaders program.

In the 2018 Emerging Leaders Program at Duke Kunshan, the participants were divided into three teams to formulate their research questions about stroke prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation. They submitted their final proposals for the Salim Yusuf Emerging Leaders Grant, which is awarded for the purpose of furthering stroke research. The availability of the grant to enable participants to collaborate beyond the week-long program is a key feature of the Program. The launch of these new projects after faculty review and feedback will be announced in the near future.