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Who We Are

CMB President Lincoln Chen visiting a township clinic in Wuning county near Jiujiang in Jiangxi province on a trip to evaluate CMB funded rural medical education projects.

The Rockefeller-endowed China Medical Board (CMB), an independent American foundation, aims to advance health in China and neighboring Asian countries through strengthening medical, nursing and public health research and education. CMB is a highly focused foundation targeting its grant and support activities to carefully selected Asian grantees.

Started in 1914 as the second major program of the Rockefeller Foundation, CMB was endowed in 1928 as an independent foundation incorporated in New York with the initial commitment to establish and operate the Peking Union Medical College in Beijing which it carried out from 1914 through 1950. After withdrawal from China in 1950, the CMB extended its capacity building work across Asia—Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan. Since returning to China in 1980, CMB has expanded support in medical education and research to more than a dozen medical universities in China and another dozen medical universities in Southeast Asia—Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

In nearly a century of philanthropy, CMB has gifted hundreds of millions of dollars in grants and technical support to medical universities across Far East and Southeast Asia. With an endowment of over $200 million, the CMB grants more than $10 million annually. With its headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, and a new office in Beijing, China, CMB has developed a team-based approach to its grants and support activities. Led by the President, CMB has about a dozen staff, half of whom are based in Asia. A 12-member Board of Trustees governs CMB organizational policies.

In 2008 CMB announced the launching of a fresh initiative to strengthen scientific excellence in “critical capacities” among Chinese and Asian institutions to address the premier health challenges of the 21st century—equitable access to primary and preventive health services in market-driven economies so that all can benefit from the advancement of knowledge. This work entails capacity strengthening in the fields of health policy and health systems and associated educational activities to advance health equity.

CMB celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2014.  Over the course of the centennial year, events were held in Bangkok, Seoul, New York, and Beijing. To mark the historic occasion, CMB’s Board of Trustees have sharpened CMB’s mission and strategies for its second century.