100th Anniversary

For more than a century, the China Medical Board (CMB) has been dedicated to advancing health in China and neighboring Asian countries through strengthening medical, nursing, and public health research and education. CMB has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in grants and technical support to medical universities across Asia. Together with our partners, we have encountered a century of astounding challenges and a century of incredible achievements.

In the first half of the 20th century, CMB focused exclusively on building the Peking Union Medical College (PUMC), "the cradle of modern medicine in China." CMB’s work began in 1914 when it was created by the Rockefeller Foundation to manage philanthropic funding for this premier medical institution solidifying the modern medical sciences in China. Most of this funding—the largest project investment in Rockefeller Foundation history—went towards the construction and development of PUMC. In 1928, the CMB was endowed as an independent American foundation in continuing to operationally support PUMC. Through war and chaos, PUMC not only endured but flourished. Its faculty and graduates founded many medical fields in China through initiating innovations in health such as key clinical specialties and a three-tiered rural health system. CMB withdrew from PUMC and China in 1950.

Starting in the 1950s, CMB expanded its capacity-building work into other Asian countries— Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan. Today, CMB remains active in mainland Southeast Asia, supporting universities to strengthen education and research in medicine, nursing, and public health.

In 1980, CMB accepted an invitation to return to China and has since expanded its support of medical education and research to more than a dozen medical universities. From 1980 to 2008, CMB invested strategically in medical research and education. In medical education, it developed the Global Minimum Essential Requirements (GMER), seeded innovations, and established four centers at Central South University, China Medical University, Sichuan University, and PUMC.

In 2008, CMB launched a fresh initiative to strengthen scientific excellence in “critical capacities” among Chinese and Asian institutions to promote equitable access to primary and preventive health services. This initiative re-focused CMB’s efforts onto advancing the field of health policy and systems sciences (HPSS), building capacity in health professional education and directing resources to rural health.

In 2014, CMB celebrated a century of challenges and accomplishments. We invite you to join us in collaboration for the years to come.