An Exceptional Pioneer joins the Team!

On February 3, the distinguished Professor Emerita, Virginia Li (Li Zhen) became a WAFA patron.  Professor Li is Research Professor, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health; Visiting Professor, Kunming Medical University; and Honorary Professor, Guangdong Medical University. Professor Li has accepted the nomination with characteristic humility and joy.

Professor Li’s service stretches back over 40 years. In China, among other accomplishments, she pioneered research in reproductive and family health that led to the development of model programs. Her research encouraged the State Family Commission to attend to Quality of Care in service delivery.  In the USA, she led studies on training physicians to counsel patients to quit smoking; her initiatives were included in the Objectives for the Nation. Professor Li has served in senior administrative and consultative roles in China, the USA and other countries. The World Health Organization has also used her methodology to re-assess its approach in global reproductive health indicator for developing countries.

Most recently, she has helped initiate a successful School Sanitation Program in Yunnan province, China. The program complements longstanding efforts by the Chinese government to improve rural living conditions, including education. Building on the success of eco toilets in households, the technology has been introduced to rural boarding schools. An effective affordable solution, it not only improves sanitation, it also provides biogas (methane) for cooking and water heating, as well as organic compost or “liquid gold”as it is locally called. Multiple economic, environmental, and social benefits flow from this largely self-sustaining process. Learn more about this unique program here!