Professional News

Casey Attends West China Health Symposium

HAZARD, Ky. (July 2, 2010) — Dr. Baretta R. Casey, director of the University of Kentucky Center for Excellence in Rural Health-Hazard, recently attended the Symposium on West China Health in Chengdu, China.

The purpose of the event, which also included the inauguration of the Evidence-based Research Center of West China Health, was to address the many challenges to health care in particular areas of west China. Dr. Casey’s involvement at the symposium was part of the research center’s plan for enlisting scholars from abroad to help develop strategies for improving health care within the region.

The three main themes addressed at the June 7 symposium were:

Health service accessibility to populations in rural areas;

Health problems related to west China urbanization and mobile population, especially those concerning the aged, women and children; and

The unique challenges for west China during the implementation of the New Health and Medical Service System Reform initiated by the Ministry of Health.

“The opportunity to learn about research in rural health issues in western China was an enlightening experience,” Casey said. “There are so many similarities between the health care disparities and geography regions when you compare western China to Eastern Kentucky.”

Western China is home to 25 percent of China’s total population, but has developed much slower than eastern China. The goal of the research center is to address the challenges posed to the ethnic and poverty-stricken areas of west China and improve health care in the area.

The symposium was hosted by Sichuan University in Chengdu and was part of the 100th anniversary celebration of the West China Center of Medical Sciences. The inauguration of the research center is expected to advance the health of west China by improving medical decision making through the practice of evidence-based medicine.

“The goals of the people of western China are the same goals I have for Appalachia – we both wish to improve the health and well being of our people,” Casey said. “The new evidence-based research center in western China will address these goals through rural health research and policy.”

The UK Center for Excellence in Rural Health-Hazard, located at 750 Morton Blvd. in Hazard, works to improve the health of Kentucky’s Appalachian people through education, research, health care services and community engagement. For information about any of the center’s programs, you may call 1-800-851-7512 or visit 

This article was written by David A. Gross of the UK Center for Excellence in Rural Health-Hazard.