Back in 1901, Yale University established a Yale Foreign Missionary Society that helped to introduce Western medical knowledge to China. In Hunan, the Society founded the Yali Union Middle School and, in 1917, the Hsiang Ya hospital and medical school. This was the first electrified building in the city of Changsha, and the hospital continued to function throughout the Sino-Japanese war, although it had to re-locate first to Guangxi and then to Guizhou. Yale was also one of the co-founders of Hua Chung University in Wuhan, Hubei. In 1934 the Society was re-incorporated as a secular organisation that is now known as the Yale-China Association.During China’s opening and reform period the Association re-established cooperative links with China. Each year it sends a small number of Yale graduates to sever as English teachers and teacher trainers in the Yali Middle School, and several other centers of higher education; and it has also placed American lawyers as teachers in Chinese universities.
Since 1995, Yale-China has collaborated each year with a different Chinese university to arrange an American Studies graduate level summer school for students from East Asian countries. These courses are led by Yale professors and have centred on topics such as ‘race and ethnicity’, ‘rule of law’ and ‘culture and consumption’.
Also from the mid-90s, the Association has collaborated with the Hsiang-Ya hospital and medical school and other similar institutions on nurse training and HIV/AIDS prevention programmes. These have recently extended to other parts of China, in partnership with the National Nursing Centre of China. Nurse educators from China and America have delivered training courses to counterparts in provinces such as Yunnan and Xinjiang. And in summer 2012, Yale-China Service Interns spent a week working alongside their peers from Xiangya School of Medicine with the Amity Foundation in Nanjing for their End-of-Summer Service Project.