By Marianne Chen, MSW candidate ’15, interning in Shanghai, China
It’s been a week since I arrived in Shanghai and already so much has happened. I hit the ground running less than 24 hours after I got here. Who needs sleep anyway?
On my first day, I met Dr. Ji Qing-ying (nationally recognized as one of China’s top social workers and the Director of the Social Work Department at Shanghai Children’s Medical Center) and her staff gave me a tour of the hospital. I was struck by the long registration lines and overflowing waiting rooms. There is a tremendous need for medical services and families often travel from far away rural areas to seek specialized care for their children. I also sat in on a staff meeting that was being filmed as part of an upcoming TV documentary about social workers in Shanghai. The social workers were discussing some of their complex cases and brainstorming ideas on how to better help the patients and families. I was also asked to share some insight into social work practices in the US.
A few days later I met Professor Zhang Yulian, who is the Chair of the Social Work Department at Shanghai Normal University. She has been collaborating with Professor Schilling of the UCLA Luskin Social Welfare Department to develop an international MSW summer field placement program so that students may engage in bi-directional learning and share ideas through a global network to help inform the development of effective programs to mitigate health and social issues. Professor Zhang gave me a lot of insight into the health care system in China and the increasing need for social workers to help address health disparities and social service gaps.
I’m looking forward to spending the rest of the summer here. The social workers at Shanghai Children’s Medical Center, Dr. Ji, Professor Zhang and her student Xiaoling have all been gracious hosts. I hope to learn more about social work and the health care system in China, conduct a needs assessment and propose some ideas to help improve service delivery at the hospital.
I’m also excited to explore Shanghai on the weekends and do some traveling. So far I’ve visited the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum and the Jade Buddha Temple. I’m planning to travel south to Guangzhou this weekend. This is shaping up to be a great summer.