Guo Jia

Guo Jia

“I wanted to study at Yale when I was an undergraduate, earning my master’s degree. However, you know it is very difficult” she says, laughing. “I think to get a degree at CSU is also very good, and while I am there I can live close to my parents and take care of them. So, this experience will make my dreams come true.”

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Yale-China Scholarship Recipient, '06
Chung Academic Nursing Fellow, '08-09

2008-09 Chung Academic Nursing Fellow Guo Jia pursued medicine for very personal reasons. She was inspired by the doctors and nurses who helped her father when an ocular injury threatened blindness. Her passion for healthcare was further invigorated when family members succumbed to diabetes. But while her initial reasons for becoming a healer stem from struggles at home, Guo Jia is as adept at serving whole populations as she is at caring for individual patients.

As a Yale-China Fellow for the Chung Academic Nursing Leadership Development Program, Guo Jia spent the first year of her Ph.D. studies at Yale under the guidance of the School of Nursing’s Dean, Margaret Grey, as well as Associate Professor Robin Whittemore. Both of her advisors share Guo Jia’s interest in treating diabetes.

Guo Jia’s proposed dissertation will adapt Dr. Grey’s adolescent coping skills training for use in China, where she has ambitious plans: “I want to do some descriptive studies on the fate of children with type 1 diabetes in China. In Chinese hospitals, nurses assist type 1 diabetes children but they don’t help them after they’re discharged,” she explains. “We don’t do anything once they come home because China doesn’t have nurse practitioners in community health centers. [Well-educated] nurses don’t want to work in community health centers because the salary is very low and the nurses in those centers receive a minimal education. We don’t have many opportunities for them to continue their studies or to earn higher positions.” The time is ripe for Guo Jia’s work as she notes that the Chinese government is increasing its attention on community health centers.

Dr. Whittemore describes Guo Jia as “very motivated and eager to learn.” Her early promise was evident when she secured a medical university spot. Guo Jia also earned several scholarships such as a competitive Chinese Government stipend for study abroad as well as the Yale-China Chung Fellowship.

Her role as a Chung fellow was not Guo Jia’s first connection with Yale-China. In 2006, a combination of her scholastic merits, Xiangya School of Medicine faculty recommendations, and financial need led Guo Jia to be awarded a Yale-China Scholarship at Xiangya which allowed her to complete her undergraduate studies.

Yale has long been on Guo Jia’s mind. “I wanted to study at Yale when I was an undergraduate, earning my master’s degree. However, you know it is very difficult” she says, laughing. “I think to get a degree at CSU is also very good, and while I am there I can live close to my parents and take care of them. So, this experience will make my dreams come true.”

Guo Jia has already taken advantage of numerous opportunities at hand. She recently returned from the 2008 State of the Science Nursing Research Conference in Washington, D.C. where she networked with Journal of Nursing Measurement Founding Editor Dr. Ora L. Strickland of the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University. Dr. Strickland was impressed with Guo Jia’s master’s degree work, measuring the holistic health of Chinese undergraduates using the “Health Quotient” rubric. The two plan to collaborate on future projects.

Guo Jia already has an idea of what her future career in China will hold. She states how “There are more and more old people in China, and chronic illnesses will have a large impact on people’s quality of life. People pay more and more attention to quality of life. [This will be a problem], especially for children.” Fortunately, she says, “the Chinese government contributes a lot, more and more, to public health.” With the promise of young leaders like Guo Jia, the future may be much brighter for China’s infirm.

--By Mattias Daly, Staff Intern


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