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Lu Chen

posts .icon { width: 20px; height: 20px; float: right; position: absolute; right: 30px; bottom: 30px; }Lu Chen

I am a Research Fellow working on the project “Connecting Three Worlds: Socialism, Medicine and Global Health After World War II” led by Dr Dora Vargha, Dr Sarah Marks (Birkbeck), and Professor Edna Suarez-Diaz (UNAM, Mexico). My research interests focus on modern and contemporary history of international and global health programmes; politics and political economy of international and global health. My work engages with studies in global health, medical anthropology, sociological and political science. I am particularly interested in studying the engagement of non-US and non- Western European actors in international and global health governance and activities in the recent past and present.

I am completing my PhD in the Centre for Global Health Histories at the University of York.

Funded by the Wellcome Trust, my PhD thesis examines the legal, epidemiological, and institutional challenges in the complex process of the global smallpox eradication programme (SEP) in the case of China, which was not a member of the World Health Organization (WHO) when the programme was delivered. The thesis is unfolded in three levels. On the global level, it investigates the impact of Cold War politics on the policy of the WHO, as well as the engagement between the WHO Headquarters, WHO Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO), and various member states regarding China’s membership in the organization and its impact on the SEP. On the international level, it examines the knowledge exchange and technical collaboration between China and various groups of experts shifted from time in the 20th Century, how these different visions of medicine and public health were adapted or resisted in the local contexts of China, and how it empowered the country to eradicate smallpox independently. On the national level, it studies how the changing political landscape shaped the international health collaboration activities and public health policies in the communist China from 1949 to 1980, and how smallpox eradication was conceived, planned, delivered, achieved in the country, and eventually certified by the WHO in a wider social and political context.

As part of the “Connecting Three Worlds” team, I’m working on the international linkage of the conceptualisation and transformation of Chinese primary health care, and the influence of the Chinese socialist public health in third world countries during and after the cold war. I am interested in studying the conceptual and practical complexities of the Chinese primary health care on the global level, regional, international, national, and local levels by looking at different strands of socialisms in Asia and Africa, which created political divergences that impacted on ideas of health and well-being, state management of the sphere of human existence and the space given to communities being served in relation to decision-making. I aim to bring in novelty in thought and writing to the project to increase understanding of the impact of socialist internationalism in co-producing global health in the 20th century from the lens of East Asia.