International Health care experience to help RU students span cultural divides


Eunyoung Lee

To transcend cultures and study international health care, Radford University Assistant Nursing Professors Linda Ely and Eunyoung Lee are leading a Spring 2015 course to study Chinese medicine, the Korean health care delivery system and how to treat patients or clients from other cultures.

The class, NURS 450.01 Current Problems in Nursing: Global Health Care Issues and Cultural Competencies, will feature a 12-week online component about major global health issues and trends, followed by an optional study abroad component that will take nursing and students from other disciplines to South Korea and Taiwan for immersion in two cultures with differing orientations to disease management/wellness and health care delivery.

"We can learn from other approaches and cultures," said Lee. "The chance to explore, experience and share with practitioners who approach health/disease and clinical practice from different cultural aspects is a valuable opportunity throughout all specialties."


Linda Ely

The class’ study aboard element will take students to Chang Gung University of Science and Technology in Taiwan and South Korea’s Yonsei University in Wonju and Shincheon. They will explore the different practice approaches and health care systems and analyze the cultural and social impacts on health care issues and practices. While at Chang Gung, students will study and evaluate nursing education that incorporates traditional Chinese medical practices. At Yonsei University, students will experience a health care system that is a blend of single payer and private insurance. At both institutions, RU students will be paired with peers from the two institutions to provide a deeper cultural and personal connection.

The experience will give RU students with an interest in health care, wellness or nursing a chance to understand health care in a transcultural setting, said Ely, who was part of a month-long exchange of a 20-person party of Taiwanese nursing undergraduates, Ph.D. students and their families in 2013.

“There is an increasing trend to analyze and explore oriental medicine and their approaches to healing and synthesize them into Western medicine,” Lee said. “In the West, it is about a cure and in the East, it is about strengthening and balancing the baseline body. Incorporation of both can fill the gaps in our health care system and improve the continuum of care and quality of life. This will be a good chance for future professionals in a variety of fields to exchange understanding, research and scholarship.”

The online component of the class will earn two credits and with the study abroad component, it will earn three credits.

The transcultural health care education exchange program will depart in May 2015 and registration closes Friday, Oct. 31. For more information, contact Lee at 540-831-7711 or or Ely at 540-831-7186 or

Oct 21, 2014