Therefore it is very important to provide these international students with scholarships so that they can focus on their studies without any worries. Moreover, the students will in the future be professors, department heads, and leaders in the field of microsurgery in their respective countries, and will feel grateful to the organization that assisted them when they were first starting out. For example, on September 22, 2017, a thank-you dinner for Professor Wei was held in Glasgow, Scotland by former clinical research fellows. They also invited former ROC foreign affairs minister David Y.L. Lin, currently Taiwan’s representative in the UK, and in addition to expressing their gratitude to Wei for his guidance, they specially thanked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) for the scholarships it provided.
Since 2011, MOFA has also been subsidizing doctors to come to Chang Gung for training from regions including Europe, North America, South America, and the Middle East. When these doctors return home, they will in turn train physicians from their own and many other countries. This is not only helpful for enhancing Taiwan’s visibility and influence, it is also very beneficial for raising the quality of doctors in countries worldwide. These actions echo Taiwan’s commitment, announced at the 69th World Health Assembly in 2016, to provide training opportunities for 50 seed surgeons from countries around the world over the next five years in response to the “Global Surgery” initiative proposed by the WHA and the Lancet Commission.
Hailing from different countries and regions, the microsurgery seed doctors trained in Taiwan are spreading to every corner of the globe. Every year Chang Gung arranges for foreign doctors to go to New Southbound Policy countries to do volunteer work, such as holding medical education seminars or giving surgery demonstrations. Wei Fu-chan hopes that in the future his program can be accredited by European medical training institutions, and also that it can link up with well-known universities such as the University of Oxford and the University of London to cooperate in joint degree programs. He also hopes to develop a PhD program in addition to the master’s program, and to build up a worldwide microsurgery network centered in Taiwan.
Chang Gung University vice-president Professor Chen Jan-kan notes: “About 70-80 applicants from around the world compete for the eight to ten places in the microsurgery program every year. It’s extremely competitive.” After they return home, these doctors not only can serve patients, but also, by passing along their knowledge, they can spread the power of Taiwan’s advanced medical services to the entire world.