Though the American Medical Global Exchange (AMGE) is a relatively young organization, it is actually takes its roots from the US-China AIDS Alliance (USCAA), a former not-for-profit organization that was founded by Dr. Richard Zhao in the late 90’s. As a HIV/AIDS researcher and clinical diagnostician, Dr. Zhao is a strong advocate for HIV/AIDS education, research and patient care. Concerning the increasing epidemic of HIV and associated infections in China, Dr. Zhao established the USCAA with the goal to promote US-China collaboration and exchange in the areas of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). To achieve this goal, Dr. Zhao has leveraged and mobilized American and Chinese resources by facilatating dialogue and events with colleagues of various Chinese governmental agencies including the Chinese Center for Disease Controls and the China Foundation for AIDS and STDs and scholars of various American institutions. By working with many world-renowned scientists such as Dr. Robert Gallo, the world’s most distinguished HIV researcher and the co-discover of HIV, and Dr. Zeng Yi, a pioneer virologist who first described HIV infection in China, USCAA has organized numerous HIV/AIDS workshops to train medical professionals such as doctors, nurses and laboratory personnel on HIV/AIDS and associated diseases in many of the provinces throughout China. Over the years, USCAA has galvanized in China the public awareness of this deadly disease including prevention, research, diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of HIV infections and associated diseases. Some of the most notable achievements include stopping the suggested special HIV-infected prisoner system by working with the Chinese Ministry of Justice; and the 2005“white-paper” special entitled "HIV/AIDS in China" that introduced, for the first time to the world, the ongoing situation of HIV epidemic in China.
Building upon those efforts, Dr. Richard Zhao spearheaded the establishment of AMGE. As an immigrant from China, Dr. Zhao has benefited directly from global exchange- in particular the US-China scholarly exchange. Dr. Zhao was among the first group of Chinese exchange students to the United States in the early 1980’s to pursue higher education. After graduation, Dr. Zhao worked through the medical schools of Columbia University and Northwestern University. He has achieved notoble academic success and is now a tenured full professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Since the late 1990’s, Dr. Zhao has devoted much of his spare time to relentlessly promoting US-China scientific collaborations and scholarly interactions. Besides his work through USCAA, he has served as the Chapter President and executive co-director of the Society of Chinese Bioscientists in America (SCBA), which is one of the largest Chinese American bioscientist societies in North America. Dr. Zhao has also served as the President of the Chinese Biopharmaceutical Association (CBA-USA), which is one of the most active biopharma societies in the US. At the University of Maryland, Dr. Zhao is a lead person in promoting scientific collaboration with colleagues from China and other parts of the world by providing medically-related teachings and trainings.
Expanding upon these past efforts, AMGE seeks to serve as a liaison to promote international collaboration and exchange in the areas of advanced medical education, life sciences, and healthcare. With the leadership of Dr. Zhao and the partnership of two young enthusiasts, Alice Zhang and Andrew Zhao, AMGE is set to enter a new era in connecting American educators, researchers, and healthcare providers with colleagues globally for the ultimate benefit of human health and wellbeing.
*Disclaimer: Dr. Zhao’s involvement and work associated with the AMGE are not part of the official business of his work at the university. He uses his spare time to work as a volunteer and all of his services described here are pro bono publico.