CCEW Team Collaborates With Dean McGee Eye Institute and Hospital in China

By Nadia Enchassi, Oklahoma Daily. Read the original article.

A team at OU’s Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth is working on an international partnership between the Dean McGee Eye Institute and a hospital in China.

CCEW’s social entrepreneurship team is helping the Dean McGee Eye Institute, which is located on OU Health Sciences Center Campus and houses the Department of Ophthalmology,in their collaboration with Sichuan Provincial People’s Hospital to develop a for-profit eye-care clinic in Sichuan Province, China.

The International Eye Institute would be a joint venture, leveraging the expertise of top western ophthalmologists and talent of Chinese eye surgeons at one of the largest public hospitals worldwide to create ophthalmic surgery centers of excellence within China, serving both the rural and urban population.

Dr. Lloyd Hildebrand, professor of ophthalmology, is one of the ophthalmologists with whom the team has been working at Dean McGee.

“The project is developing an eye institute in Chengdu, China to provide world-class eye care, a top-notch western-style ophthalmology residency program and a comprehensive research program,” Hildebrand said in an email. “It will involve a partnership with the Dean McGee Eye Institute to develop a ‘sister’ institute.”

Dealing with real-world implications, the students’ project has taken them out of the classroom and into the business world. The team is led by Evan Fry, biochemistry and economics junior. The business interns are Dan Phillips, economics junior; Rebecca Stevenson, international studies senior; Tyler Pearson, second-year law student; and Charlotte Lunday, meteorology senior.

Interns have been tasked with analyzing the domestic and expatriate ophthalmic market in Sichuan Province, China; benchmarking against other joint ventures and clinical partnerships in China; and developing a scalable business model for the operational, organizational and financial strategies of the International Eye Institute.

Phillips said one of the most rewarding parts of the project was interacting and negotiating with a delegation from Sichuan Provincial People’s Hospital.This delegation, consisting of high-ranking executives from the Chinese hospital, visited Dean McGee and the Norman campus two weeks ago.

“We actually got to sit down and discuss with them,” he said. “They hashed out a lot of the details on how to move forward, were definitely interested and took it all home with them to talk more with the [Sichuan Province People’s Hospital] leadership.” 

Fry said he’s looking forward to the possibility of visiting China this May on a reciprocal visit to the hospital.

Hildebrand said the Sichuan hospital was chosen because of its “big market, big need and long-term partnership [with Dean McGee] of over 10 years.”

The ultimate goal is a functional first-class center in West China that runs effective blindness-prevention projects, a great training program, world-class ophthalmic clinic and medical research, Hildebrand said. Ultimately, the CCEW interns have helped the two hospitals build a framework for a sustainable business model.

Hildebrand said his overall experience has been a great one, particularly because he gets to work with “bright students” who “keep him young.”


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