Taiwan Exchange Program A 'Wonderful Lesson,' Fitzgerald Says

May 22, 2014

This month, Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, joined other U.S. health officials in Taiwan as part of an international exchange program of health leaders.

DPH Commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., and other members of the international exchange program met with Taiwanese health officials.

Fitzgerald and heads of health departments at state and federal levels, physicians and executives of other health-related foundations or national associations spent 10 days in the country. The group visited local and rural communities to observe Taiwanese health systems and customs and spent time in conversation with the Taiwan Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW), the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control, Health Promotion Administration, and the Food and Drug Administration.

“This trip to Taiwan was a wonderful lesson that sometimes gets lost when we are caught up in our day to day jobs and responsibilities at public health,” said Fitzgerald. “No matter where you go, no matter what language you speak, no matter the political conflicts - public health employees have the same mission.  Prevent disease and injury and promote health and well-being.”

The exchange is an annual program facilitated by the Duke University Policy and Organizational Management Program and co-hosted this year by the Taiwan MOHW. For almost a decade, the symposium has provided a unique opportunity for Taiwanese and American health and public health professionals to share ideas and programs and to implement effective strategies and policies to achieve their respective goals.

In a rural town near Taipei, Fitzgerald met public health nurses who gave her a tribal band representing their community.

While cultures and systems may be different, health officials around the world are united in their mission to tackle similar, often universal, health issues. This exchange program provides dedicated health professionals the opportunity to discuss challenges, solutions and successes with the goal of making the world healthier and safer.  

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