Fudan—Columbia Social Work Joint Workshop


On May 29, 2018, Tuesday, Fudan University School of Social Development and Public Policy and Columbia University School of Social Work held an all-day joint workshop at Fudan University. In addition to the cohosts, the workshop was supported by the Fudan Foreign Expert Fund and Fudan Foreign Affairs Office. The workshop focused on critical social issues and social policy choices currently facing both China and the United States. Themes covered included poverty and inequality, child allowance and development, and aging and care policies and practices in both countries.

During the opening remarks, Qin Gao, Professor of Social Policy and Social Work and Director of China Center for Social Policy at Columbia University, shared the history of how the two schools came together and established a long-term collaboration and partnership. She also expressed hopes for more academic exchanges between the two institutions to further develop research and education in social work and public policy. Donghui Gu, Professor and Vice Dean of Fudan University School of Social Development and Public Policy, introduced Fudan’s efforts in social work education and research. He echoed Gao’s message and mentioned Fudan’s aspiration and eagerness for more exchanges and collaborations with Columbia faculty and students.

The opening session of the workshop focused on changes in Chinese and U.S. child welfare policies in light of recent social developments and their implications for child well-being. Irv Garfinkel, Interim Dean and Mitchell I. Ginsberg Professor of Contemporary Urban Problems at Columbia School of Social Work, presented child allowance as a policy solution for addressing childhood poverty and inequality in the US. Honglin Chen, Associate Professor of Social Work at Fudan University, introduced China’s child protection system in detail and discussed future directions.


Session two centered on aging and long-term care policies in China and the US. Professor Jinyu Liu, Assistant Professor of Social Work at Columbia University, shared her research on dementia caregiving support for Chinese families. Jiaan Zhang, Assistant Professor of Social Work at Fudan University, introduced her research on participation in productive activities among Chinese older adults. Assistant Professor Liu Hong of Fudan shared his research on policy support for female migrant care workers in Shanghai.

Session three focused on poverty and inequality in the two countries. Professor Qin Gao offered a detailed analysis of China’s policy developments and local experimentations to eradicate poverty. Sara McLanahan, the William S. Tod Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University, presented trends in growing inequalities in family formation and behaviors by women’s education in the US. Professor John K. Miller of Fudan University discussed a series of issues and challenges in family therapy in China. Assistant Professor Yanyan Chen of Fudan presented a qualitative study of resilience among urban poor elders in China and its implications for social work practice.


In the final session, Columbia School of Social Work doctoral students Jack Xiaoning Huang, Nan Jiang, and Yalu Zhang presented their research. Jack Xiaoning Huang discussed how international migration might affect the welfare state among OECD countries. Nan Jiang focused on the causality between children’s education and caregiving behavior and financial support towards older parents in the United States. Yalu Zhang presented research on catastrophic medical expenditures among the older population and examined the role of the New Rural Cooperative Health Insurance program in reducing health-induced poverty in China.

At the end of the workshop, Fang Zhao, Professor and Chair of Department of Social Work and professor Qin Gao gave each other gifts and books with best wishes for further collaborations.

The workshop was joined by many faculty and students from Fudan University as well as incoming Columbia students. Throughout the workshop, the participants engaged in active discussions about social issues and research projects. All were enthusiastic about further dialogues and collaborations regarding social work and public policy in China, the United States, and worldwide in the future.


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