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Global Initiatives

International Services at UNMC

10th Shanghai Sino-U.S. Family Medicine Symposium, c. 2019

Courtesy of Tongji University, photographer Xinglun Liang, MD

Family medicine and primary care physicians in China and faculty members from the UNMC Department of Family Medicine and the College of Medicine celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Sino-U.S. Family Medicine collaboration.

Family Medicine Training Program

UNMC has collaborated with Tongji University and Xi’an Jiaotong University in China in the field of Family Medicine since 2008 and 2010 respectively. Through these university partnerships, the Sino-U.S. Training Center for General Practitioners in Xi’an and the Shanghai Sino-U.S. Family Medicine Exchange and Training Center were established. The partnership includes an annual symposium, held in China since 2009, and draws thousands of trainees to participate. Since 2012, UNMC also offers a leadership course in Omaha, training more than 80 Chinese family medicine leaders annually.  

Jeff Harrison, MD, chair of the Department of Family Medicine, is the host of UNMC’s U.S.-Sino Family Medicine Leadership Course, in which a group of family medicine practitioners and medical residents from Beijing, Shanghai, and Xi’an, China, come to UNMC to learn advanced U.S. training techniques and models. China is focused on expanding and strengthening its family medicine physician pool to improve health care delivery and the country’s primary care infrastructure. The program teaches team-based care, interviewing skills, strategies for dealing with angry patients, and how UNMC faculty give feedback and evaluate learners.




Luana Oliveira-Haas, DDS, MS, PhD, c. 2018

Courtesy of the UNMC College of Dentistry

Through a UNMC Faculty Diversity Fund grant, Dr. Oliveira-Haas has worked to solidify an international collaboration between UNMC and her alma mater, the Federal University of Uberlandia (UFU) in Brazil. PhD students from UFU spend one month at the College of Dentistry and explore new developments in dental research.


College of Dentistry’s International Programs

The College of Dentistry (COD) has a longstanding tradition of providing access to education and resources for international students, faculty, and physicians. The first international student, Kiyoshi Kumamoto of Japan, graduated from Lincoln Dental College, the COD's predecessor, on April 17, 1901. Since then, the COD has committed to expanding their reach, providing opportunities to dental students, dentists, and educators around the globe.

One significant offering is the Advanced Standing Dental Program that allows dentists educated outside of the US the opportunity to earn a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at UNMC. This program is intended for individuals interested in continuing their dental career in the U.S. or returning to their country with additional skills.  

The COD also has strong partnerships with the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus in Jamaica and the Federal University of Uberlandia (UFU) in Brazil. These programs provide educational opportunities for students to come to Lincoln to study and for COD faculty to travel and train students at their home universities.


David G. Dunning, MA, PhD, with UWI Students in Jamaica, c. 2019

Courtesy of David G. Dunning, MA, PhD, UNMC College of Dentistry

Dr. Dunning has taught a course in dental practice management for the dental students at UWI since 2017.



Advanced Standing Students with Gregory Bennett, DMD, c. 2020

Courtesy of the UNMC College of Dentistry

Advanced standing students learn about digital dentistry from Dr. Bennett. Students from left to right: Karla Mejia, Kiran Shahid, Ramanpreet Randhawa, and Rooh Afza.




Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, meeting with SEED Students, c. 2019

Courtesy of the UNMC Office of Global Engagement

As of 2019, three cohorts have completed the SEED training program with an average of 12 undergraduate students per cohort.


Summer Experiential Education in Physical Therapy

The UNMC Global Health Opportunity Program (GHOP) for Summer Experiential Education (SEED) in Physical Therapy is a four-week summer program that helps international physical therapy and rehabilitation students develop a global perspective. The College of Allied Health Professions (CAHP) and the Office of Global Engagement (OGE) arrange lectures, visits to rehabilitation hospitals and local physical therapy clinics, and cultural activities in Omaha and Lincoln. The students gain an introduction to physical therapy sciences and practice in the U.S., access to cutting-edge research and clinical facilities, and an international vision that will enable them to take leadership roles and aid in the growth of physical therapy and rehabilitation in their home countries.

Beginning in 2017, the program was originally called the Summer Physical Therapy Education for Chinese Students Program (SPECS). The name changed in 2020 with the addition of new university partners outside of China. CAHP has also arranged a short-term exchange program for UNMC physical therapy students in China.




Senator Ben Nelson Fellows at iEXCEL, 2018

Courtesy of the Open World Leadership Center

The delegation of Russian doctors and researchers spends several days on campus to focus on the exceptional expertise and opportunities UNMC has to offer.  


Open World – Senator Ben Nelson Fellows

Since 2014, Russian doctors and researchers have participated in this annual exchange program offered through the Open World Leadership Center in partnership with UNMC. The Open World Leadership Center is a federal legislative branch agency that strives to stimulate goodwill and collaboration between the people of former Soviet countries and the United States. Open World’s board of trustees created the Nelson Fellows Program to honor Nebraska U.S. Senator Ben Nelson’s contribution to Open World and improve ties between the United States and Russia. Senator Nelson joined the board while chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee from 2009 to 2012. He rejoined the board in 2016 and is currently chair. Locally, Ward Chambers, MD, Michael B. Yanney, and the late Walter Scott, Jr. are long-term advocates of this program.  
Each year, five Russian medical researchers or doctors, along with a facilitator, visit Washington, D.C., to meet with health experts and the Nebraska Congressional delegation. The group then travels to Omaha. The group's expertise determines the UNMC faculty and staff they meet while on campus.




Chinese Cultural Fair, c. 2019

Courtesy of the UNMC Office of Global Engagement

CSSA organizes various activities including the Chinese Cultural Fair, welcome picnic for new Chinese students, and celebrations for National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival.


ISA Students Celebrating Holi, c. 2019

Courtesy of the International Student Association

Holi is a Hindu festival also known as the “festival of colors” or “festival of spring” and signifies the triumph of good over evil.


International Campus Organizations

The International Student Association (ISA) and the Chinese Student and Scholar Association (CSSA) provide community and support for foreign students, faculty, and researchers on campus. The CSSA at UNMC has more than 300 members including graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, visiting scholars, faculty, and staff who are originally from China. The organization's mission is to serve as a platform to fulfill members' needs, promote Chinese culture, facilitate communication within the Chinese community on and off-campus, and establish communication between the Chinese community and Omaha local community. CSSA members serve as mentors to newcomers, enrich Chinese students' U.S. college experiences, and promote cultural exchange, friendship, and understanding among people with diverse cultural backgrounds.
In January 2016, the ISA was formally established to support the international community at UNMC. It organizes the annual International Week activities, held during the fall semester, and the annual Holi celebration, occurring in the spring. ISA also hosts the periodic Student Senate-funded Breaking Barriers lunch presentations, which focus on the home countries of international students.




Tongji Faculty Training Program, c. 2019

Courtesy of the UNMC Office of Global Engagement

Three Tongji University faculty members receive certificates after completing their medical education training program at UNMC.  


International Faculty Training

UNMC, through the Office of Global Engagement (OGE), offers customized faculty development and training programs designed to meet the needs of academic partners aruond the world. These programs can include short, intensive, immersive experiences that sharpen skills or longer programs that permit visiting faculty to develop deeper relationships on the UNMC campus. International faculty, scientists, physicians, nurses, and other professionals learn under the guidance of outstanding faculty, research scientists, and clinical experts here in Omaha. OGE partners with the education offices in the Colleges of Allied Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health to ensure visitors leave UNMC with the knowledge and experiences of training in a world-class U.S. healthcare system.




International Observers from India, c. 2020

Courtesy of the UNMC Office of Global Engagement

Four fellows from India Osmania Medical College, Hyderabad, Telangana, India observe in the UNMC Department of Surgical Oncology during their month on campus.


International Observers

UNMC offers international faculty, students, physicians, and researchers the opportunity to shadow UNMC physicians, faculty, and researchers for 4 to 8 weeks through the international observership program. The university has welcomed international students, fellows, and clinical observers from numerous countries, including Brazil, China, France, Germany, Jordan, Oman, Pakistan, Russia, South Korea, and Vietnam. The Office of Global Engagement (OGE), UNMC colleges, and local affiliates, provide opportunities for international physicians and students to learn the U.S. medical system and clinical practice at UNMC and in the greater Omaha area. Most of the clinical observers are required to participate in observerships to enter a United States Residency Program. Visiting partners observe UNMC clinicians, faculty, and researchers and do not have direct patient contact.




UNMC faculty with some of the Vietnamese physicians, c. 1976

From the McGoogan Health Sciences Library Special Collections and Archives

Margaret Faithe, MD, professor of Family Practice (pictured front center), was the director of the educational program for Vietnamese refugee physicians.


UNMC Aids Vietnamese Refugee Physicians

In early 1975, 19 Nebraska communities recruited and sponsored 30 refugee physicians and their families, bringing them to Nebraska to practice family medicine in the various sponsoring communities across the state. Participating communities included Ashland, Albion, Beatrice, Bridgeport, Cedar Rapids, Clay Center, Humboldt, Imperial, Loup City, Mullen, Norfolk, Shelton, Sutherland, and Wauneta.

The Nebraska Legislature provided $50,000 in seed money to support cultural orientation, English-language courses, and continuing medical education. UNMC faculty quickly developed a curriculum to prepare the physicians to pass the state medical exams required to practice medicine in Nebraska. The courses also familiarized them with the benefits and common issues associated with practicing medicine in the state. After an eight-week English-language intensive course, participating physicians started their medical education at UNMC in July 1975 and completed the program in April 1976.