Shenglan Tang named inaugural Mary D.B.T. and James Semans International Professor

Shenglan Tang, professor of medicine and global health, was recently selected to become the inaugural Mary D.B.T. and James Semans International Professor. This professorship recognizes a scholar of true eminence and excellence in global issues or who is international in terms of country of origin.

“Dr. Tang has more than three decades of experience undertaking research on health systems reform, disease control, and maternal and child health in China and many other low and middle income countries around the globe,” said Denis Simon, executive vice chancellor of Duke Kunshan University. “He has set a great example in promoting global health research and education in China through his tremendous efforts at Duke Kunshan. His contributions clearly merit such a prestigious title.”

This Professorship was established in memory of Mary D.B.T. and James Semans by The Duke Endowment. Mary D.B.T. Semans was the great-granddaughter of Washington Duke, in whose honor Duke University was named. James Semans, Mary D.B.T. Semans’ husband, was a Duke University surgeon and urologist who combined a career as a leading medical scientist and physician with a passion for the arts and charitable causes.

A native of Shanghai, Tang is the Executive Director of the global health program and professor of global health at Duke Kunshan University in China. 

He is a tenured professor of medicine in the School of Medicine at Duke University, and also a professor of global health at the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI). He has led the Global Health Research Center at Duke Kunshan since 2013.

In his capacity at Duke Kunshan, he was elected as the chairman of the China Consortium of Universities for Global Health in November 2015. Currently, he also serves as the director of the Duke Kunshan-based Research Hub for the World Health Organization’s Asia-Pacific Observatory (APO) on Health Systems and Policies, one of the only three APO research hubs. 

“The Duke Kunshan leadership under Denis Simon has made a strong institutional commitment to global health issues,” said Tang. “With such a prominent presence in China, we have been able to work with some of the best researchers and conduct cutting-edge research to improve health equity in China and around the world.”

He also has been a consultant on health systems strengthening to many international organizations and governments of developing countries.

“Shenglan Tang is a highly gifted global scholar, educator and administrator,” said Michael Merson, vice president and vice provost for global affairs and former director of the Duke Global Health Institute. “His collaborations are rich and span the globe. He is tireless in his commitment to DGHI’s mission of achieving health equity worldwide.”

In 2012, Dr. Tang came to Duke University from the UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, based in Geneva, where he was unit leader for TB/HIV and Health Systems.

Before his assignment at WHO, Dr. Tang was a faculty member at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in UK, and the School of Public Health of Fudan University (the former Shanghai Medical University).