Physical Activity and Health in China: Strategies in Adolescents and Young Adults

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Seminar Dates: June 27 - July 18, 2020

Travel Dates: Depart for Beijing June 26, 2020, arrive Beijing June 27, 2020; depart Beijing after course ends July 18, 2020

Location:  Stanford Center at Peking University (SCPKU), Beijing, China

Director:  Randall Stafford, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Stanford Prevention Research Center
Co-Instructors:  Yi Song, MD, PhD; Assoc. Prof. of child & Adolescent health, Peking University; Patrick Lau, PhD, Prof. of Sport & Physical Education, Hong Kong Baptist University

Teaching Assistant: A former seminar participant from 2018 will serve as the TA  

Eligibility: Stanford University graduate and professional students are given priority. Stanford clinical trainees and junior/co-term undergraduates are also eligible. Must be enrolled for Fall 2020-21.

Fees/Cost: Airfare, accommodations, and food are covered by the Stanford Center at Peking University (see Program Cost for more details)

Description:  China’s extraordinary economic growth has fostered numerous social changes that threaten to offset the benefits of economic prosperity. Most prominent is rapid urbanization with substantial rural to urban migration. Resulting changes particularly impact adolescent and young adult health behaviors, including increases in smoking, alcohol intake, overweight/obesity, pollutant exposure, and sedentary lifestyles. Physical activity, with its causal link to protection against future chronic disease, is a special area of concern. Reduced physical activity is potentiated by adverse changes in patterns of diet, sleep, substance use and stress as well as air pollution. Societal and school-based health policies are beginning to be implemented to address this issue, but proven strategies are not yet available.  China shares this problem with most developed and developing nations, creating a significant need for practical global solutions and a heightened need for greater expertise in physical activity research.

Details: This three-week seminar is limited to six Stanford participants.  Seminar activities at SCPKU in Beijing will focus on: 1) Classroom discussions led by the faculty directors from Stanford, Beijing, and Hong Kong, and 2) Team-based, practical research projects that will develop proposals for innovative prevention research on adolescent and young adult physical activity.  Course faculty will also facilitate access to local information and resources.  The course emphasizes experiencing Beijing through course-related site visits, student observations of the city’s social environment and youth culture, and learning to adopt new health behaviors. The seminar will culminate in a public symposium led by the faculty where the student teams also will also present their project results. All instruction will be in English. The six Stanford students will be matched with six Chinese graduate students. The seminar is a non-unit bearing course, but academic credit for directed research is readily available. Experience in China, public health/medical training, or Chinese language skills are NOT required.

Past Reviews:  Student evaluations from the 2015, 2016 and 2018 SCPKU Summer Seminars have been uniformly enthusiastic. Feedback from both Stanford and Chinese students noted an exceptional range of expert speakers, thought-provoking topics, fantastic student interactions, and high quality student team projects, including presenting this work in a public forum. Students were asked the first three words that came to mind to describe the seminar: “exciting, informative, and fun ”and “enlightening, intriguing, and bonding.”

Application Process:  A seminar application and supplemental application are required plus an official Stanford transcript via Axess(submit transcript to Leigh Wang).  Please provide the transcript and both applications online at the same time.  The deadline to apply is March 15, 2020.  Applications received after the due date will be considered for the waitlist.

FOR CHINA-BASED STUDENTS: Please email your CV to Sanjiu Zhang by April 10, 2020.

More Information? Contact Leigh Wang at and Dr. Stafford at with “SCPKU Seminar” as your email Subject. After initial screening you’ll be asked to complete an online application. Deadline is 2/29/20, but we use a rolling selection process, so don’t delay contacting us if you’re interested.