United Foundation for China’s Health (UFCH), jointly launched by United Family Healthcare (UFH) and its Founder and CEO Ms. Roberta Lipson, was officially approved by the civil affairs authority to become a legally registered non-public foundation and charity organization in China. The mission of UFCH is to leverage the medical resource of United Family to extend care to China’s vulnerable and underserved communities.
On August 26, 1997, Beijing United Family Hospital, the first international private hospital since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, opened its doors on Jiangtai Road in Beijing. Starting from 20 beds, UFH has established itself a comprehensive medical system covering prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation services in the past 20 years. The medical network includes four general hospitals located in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, and Qingdao, one specialist rehabilitation hospital, and 15 satellite clinics. An additional four general hospitals are currently under construction and scheduled to be put into operation by 2018.
Upholding the philosophy of evidence-based medicine and consistently optimizing its medical services as well as training clinicians and healthcare workers to deliver proactive and patient centered care, UFH has impressive achievements in China. Meanwhile UFH remains committed to bringing quality medical resources to disadvantaged groups in need of medical assistance. As early as 2001 when Ms. Lipson was invited to visit a welfare center in Jiaozuo in Henan Province. Ms. Lipson was struck by the crowded and poorly sanitized conditions where the children lived. She learned that many of the children had birth defects and had a higher risk of illness and death due to a lack of timely treatment. At that moment, Ms. Lipson told her UFH colleagues: “Although most of our patients come from middle class and affluent families in China, we should explore ways to make better use of our advanced international medical resources to serve more people in a wider area.”
Beginning in 2001, UFH has donated one percent of its annual income to support medical services for low-income and disadvantaged groups who lack medical resources. Among the recipients who benefit are orphans, first-tier urban migrant workers, rural doctors, telemedicine trained doctors in southwestern China, and many children who suffer physical disabilities due to cerebral palsy. Over the past 17 years, more than 10,000 outpatients have benefited from free UFH clinics with nearly 5,000 inpatient days, and more than 200 patients have received free surgery at United Family Hospital.
Under national guiding strategy of “targeted poverty alleviation”, UFH has been working on “medical poverty alleviation” initiatives during the past two years. According to the statistics compiled by the State Council’s Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, 42 percent of the poverty-stricken population is victims of illness; these people living in poverty are further bogged down by serious and chronic diseases. An effective way to address the causes of poverty is to enhance awareness of preventive care, to rationally manage chronic disease, and to reduce the medical burden.
Against this backdrop, UFH introduced its Wheels for Life program in 2015 and commenced driving the mobile clinic to areas where medical conditions are scarce. It provides medical consultation, health education, cancer screening and diagnosis, and treatment for the poor. In the summer of 2017, twenty-four UFH medical staff traveled on the Wheels for Life bus and worked with renowned experts from all over the country to provide free clinics to local residents in nine counties and five cities in Ningxia Province. Over 14 days, the mobile clinic offered free cervical and breast cancer screenings for over 1500 local women and effectively imparted critical knowledge of cancer prevention and treatment.
After registering successfully in China, the United Foundation for China’s Health (UFCH) will assist with poverty alleviation projects while introducing a better systematic and sustainable medical service that is closer to the local reality in China. The Foundation is also dedicated to advancing medical education. United Family Healthcare Founder Ms. Lipson remarked: “Healthcare institutions should keep in mind their two responsibilities. The first is corporate responsibility, which is to center on patients and to ensure safe, effective, and high-quality medical practices. The second is social responsibility, which requires active participation in charity acts through medical services.” UFH will utilize the Foundation as its charity platform to give back to the community and to bring light and warmth to the people.