President Salovey Launches New Joint Center in Shanghai

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

On March 19th, President Peter Salovey and Shanghai Jiaotong University (SJTU) President Zhang Jie signed an agreement establishing the SJTU-Yale Joint Center for Biostatistics. The SJTU-Yale Joint Center will conduct cutting-edge biostatistical and translational medicine research. Researchers at the Center will focus on cancer as well as cardiovascular and metabolic diseases with special emphasis placed on translating “bench” research into “bedside” practice. Yale’s Ira V. Hiscock Professor of Biostatistics, Hongyu Zhao, in collaboration with researchers from SJTU and the Shanghai National Center for Translational Medicine, will lead the new Joint Center.  The Center is the first realized project under the framework of a 2012 Memorandum of Understanding between the two universities, and will include faculty from each institution.

Yale and SJTU’s strengths in the field of medicine are complementary.  The Yale School of Medicine is a world-renowned basic medical research institute, and SJTU with its 14 affiliated hospitals that received more than 26 million outpatients and 680,000 inpatients in 2013 is well known for its clinical medicine. “The joint center is a classic example of synergy,” President Salovey stated during the signing ceremony, “what comes out of the whole will be greater than what either university could do by itself.” President Zhang agreed, stating that by capitalizing on the strengths of both universities, the Center will more effectively improve the public health of a country of 1.3 billion.

After signing the agreement establishing the Joint Center, President Salovey also received an honorary doctorate from SJTU as part of the university’s commencement ceremony for graduate and professional studies. During his acceptance speech, President Salovey highlighted the deep connections between the two universities and also spoke at length on the relevance of emotional intelligence in higher education.  He called on the graduating students to use “intelligences—both traditional and emotional—in ways that contribute to the larger good and to realize that education is a lifelong endeavor.”

President Salovey’s honorary degree conferral and the establishment of the Joint Center mark an important milestone in a relationship between SJTU and Yale spanning more than a century. Early SJTU faculty members, such as Conhui Wang and Jintao Chen, earned their doctoral degrees at Yale, and SJTU’s main administration building, built in 1933, was named after Rong Hong (also known as Yung Wing), one of Yale’s most revered alumni.  The bonds between the two universities were strengthened in 2011 when the China Scholarship Council invited SJTU to join the Yale World Scholars Ph.D. program in biomedicine. More recently, SJTU students are able to attend Yale Summer Session through the generous support of Neil Shen, who graduated from both Shanghai Jiaotong and Yale.  This new Center and degree ceremony will further cement ties between the two universities for the centuries to come.

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By: Yusong Huang