Wang Honghong

Wang Honghong

Honghong believes that China still has a long way to go in helping patients with HIV or AIDS. While Honghong says she realizes that one person’s strength is not enough to make systemic changes, she is willing to contribute however much she can to make a difference in China’s HIV/AIDS fight.

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Chia Fellow, '01

Wang Honghong’s first contact with the Yale-China Association was in 1995 when she attended a lecture on HIV/AIDS by Yale Professor Ann Williams at the Xiangya School of Medicine. Several hundred health care workers thronged the hall, more curious to see a nurse from Yale than interested in AIDS. HIV/AIDS was widely considered at that time to be a disease of foreigners, unlikely to ever be a threat in China.

As the session ended, Honghong stood up in the audience and spoke movingly about the loneliness and suffering of the AIDS patients she had observed in Chiang Mai, Thailand, while pursuing her master’s degree in nursing. Her compassion and commitment were exquisitely visible.

It was no surprise that when Ann returned to Changsha for Yale-China’s first HIV/AIDS “Train-the-Trainer” workshop, Honghong was there again. This time, she worked as a volunteer to help coordinate the workshop that educated nurses from across Hunan. When the Yale-China “Train-the-Trainer” program expanded, Ann invited Honghong to become one of the program’s Chinese trainers.

Honghong gladly accepted, and her interest in HIV/AIDS grew as she worked with Yale-China. She understood the creativity required for effective AIDS education and proved to be a gifted trainer, building on her teaching experience as a faculty member at Xiangya School of Nursing. During these years, she traveled to Yale for a one-month program on blood-borne pathogens and, in the fall of 2001, returned to New Haven as a Yale-China Chia Fellow.

Established in 1998, the Chia Family Fellowship Program works to improve health outcomes in defined Hunan and Yunnan province communities through health education and service, as well as further the professional careers of Chinese women working in the health professions. Chosen through a highly competitive selection process, Chia Fellows spend a semester at Yale during which time they develop a public health project under the guidance of a Yale faculty mentor and Yale-China staff. They then implemented the project upon their return to China. For her Chia Fellowship, Honghong’s project was an evaluation of AIDS education for nursing students.

Honghong’s HIV/AIDS efforts didn’t stop after she completed her Chia Fellowship project. From 2002 through the present, she continues to serve as a trainer under the auspices of the Yale-China Association and the National Nursing Center of China, traveling throughout the country to train nurses.

Today, Honghong is a Professor and associate dean of Central South University School of Nursing. Her scholarship is devoted to improving the lives of people living with AIDS. In the summer of 2006, she and two graduate students went to rural villages in Hubei and Anhui to study medication adherence among HIV/AIDS patients and their quality of life.

Working with Dr. Williams, Honghong and her students began a program to visit AIDS patients, bringing information and support into the homes of some of the most vulnerable members of Chinese society. One man’s family was so terrified of his disease that they refused to cook for him or let him eat with the family. Honghong and her students came to his door with groceries and prepared a meal in the family kitchen. They then sat down and shared the meal with the patient, demonstrating a model of kindness.

Honghong is modest about the impact of her work. “We [university faculty members] don’t have many chances to serve patients directly,” she says. “The field projects allow me to learn new things and put what I’ve learned from books into practice.”

Her knowledge has a direct impact on the quality of AIDS patient care in Hunan. Honghong believes that China still has a long way to go in helping patients with HIV or AIDS. While Honghong realizes that one person’s strength is not enough to make systemic changes, she’s willing to contribute however much she can to make a difference in China’s HIV/AIDS fight.


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