Honoring the legacy of Yan Fuqing, first Asian graduate of Yale School of Medicine

Yale School of Medicine (YSM) recently honored Dr. Yan Fuqing, the first Asian graduate of the institution, with a ceremony and unveiling of a bronze bust of him at the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library.  In partnership with the Yale-China Association, YSM organized the tribute which included an academic program and was followed by the official installation of the bust donated by members of his family and Xiangya Hospital, which Dr. Yan helped to build.

Dr. Yan, who graduated from YSM in 1909, returned to China after his education and played a significant role in establishing medical institutions and public health initiatives there, including founding the Xiang-Ya (Hunan–Yale) School of Medicine. He later became the founding dean of the Shanghai Medical College at Fudan University, which remains a top medical school in China today.

The event, which took place on October 25th 2023, brought together distinguished guests and academic leaders from Xiangya School of Medicine at Central South University and Shanghai Medical College at Fudan University, delegates from the Hunan provincial government, descendants and family members of Dr. Yan, and representatives from across Yale to celebrate Dr. Yan’s contributions to medicine and public health. The program included an exploration of his legacy and his belief in connecting public health with medical education. His family members, including his granddaughter Dr. Doreen Chen and his grandson Dr. Yan Zhiyuan, shared insights into his character and commitment to service.

The event also showcased Yale’s engagement throughout the world, as it prepares students to be global leaders and fosters international collaborations. Yale enjoys the distinction of having the deepest relationship with China of any university in the United States, with collaborations from 1835 to the present.

Yale’s Vice-Provost for Global Strategy Steven Wilkinson emphasized the importance of global engagement as core to Yale’s mission and noted the university’s enduring partnerships in China and dedication to building international collaborations, particularly in the medical field. He said, ”Through these channels, we seek to find new ways to bring people together, deepen understanding between our two countries, and find innovative solutions to address societal issues.” 


The bronze bust of Dr. Yan Fuqing unveiled at the event at the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library, pictured above.

A group, including YSM Dean Nancy Brown, Bob Rohrbaugh, and the Central South University-Xiangya Medical School delegation, gathered outside Yale’s Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona Hall.

group with president

A delegation of academic leaders from the Central South University-Xiangya Medical School visited with Yale President Peter Salovey.


Read more about the event by visiting the Yale School of Medicine website.

Learn more about Yale’s partnerships in China by visiting the Yale and the World website.