Meet the award-winning alumni fighting COVID in China

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, these 12 La Trobe Master of Health Administration alumni and staff rushed to Wuhan to help.

Cast your mind back to the start of the pandemic. Where were you when the COVID-19 outbreak began?

For 12 La Trobe Master of Health Administration alumni and staff, the answer is Wuhan. As the World Health Organisation raised the alarm in January 2020, they rushed to China’s COVID-19 frontline to offer their expertise.

The group includes talented hospital and community health service CEOs Dr Hao Wu, Dr Liemin Ruan, Dr Ligang Wu, Dr Xiaomin Li and Dr Yue Zhao; medical specialists Ms Yuan Yao, Dr Pei Sun and Mr Meng Lingmiao; nursing directors Ms Lei Wang, Ms Hongyan Yang and Ms Feifei Leng; and senior lecturer Dr Zhanming Liang, who helped raise urgent funds to deliver medical supplies to Wuhan’s hospitals.

La Trobe established the inaugural Chancellor’s Award to recognise the group's outstanding collective achievements. You can meet some of the talented Wuhan team in our short video, captured during their virtual awards ceremony.

Uniting to fight the pandemic

Among them is alumnus Dr Wu Hao (Master of Health Administration, 2013), CEO of Fangzhuang Community Health Service, who was delegated by the National Health Commission to develop guidelines for community responses to COVID-19. At the Chancellor's Award ceremony, he spoke on behalf of the group from a COVID-19 outbreak centre in Guangzhou, where he currently works.

Dr Wu Hao expressed gratitude for the guidance he received from La Trobe lecturers, who he continues to keep in touch with today. He also praised his La Trobe alumni community as a source of professional support during COVID-19.

“I keep in touch with other alumni, especially during the fight against COVID. We share information about COVID-19 prevention and control, and fight the pandemic together,” he says.

Also attending the award ceremony was Mr Long Zhou, The Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China, who described the group's efforts as heroic.

“All of you marched straight to the epicentre and joined in the frontline battle in Wuhan. Hailed as heroes in harm’s way, you – among over 20,000 health care workers in 100-plus medical teams – converged in Hubei, the hardest hit province, from across the nation to support pandemic control,” he says.

The Chancellor’s Award was awarded as part of La Trobe's Distinguished Alumni Awards and is one of the highest honours bestowed by the University. Read our media release to learn more about this year's recipients.