Four administrators from the School of Nursing at Naresuan University, Thailand, visited UMass Lowell on April 26 to celebrate the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) and discuss plans for collaboration.
The MOU formalizes the commitment between the nursing schools at both universities to develop opportunities for student exchanges, visiting professorships, research and the development of a Ph.D. nursing program at Naresuan University.
Welcomed by then-Provost Michael Vayda, Solomont School of Nursing Interim Dean Karen Devereaux Melillo, Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences Dean Shortie McKinney, Assoc. Dean Dhimiter Bello and School of Nursing Assoc. Prof. Ainat Koren and Prof. Barbara Mawn, the Naresuan University visitors included:
- Chommanard Wannapornsiri, dean, faculty of nursing
- Somsak Thojampa, associate dean for administration affairs (who received a 2017 Ph.D. in nursing at UMass Lowell)
- Phattharamanat Pongrangsarn, associate dean for academic affairs, and
- Wongduan Suwannakeeree, head of the nursing department
During a weeklong visit, they participated in the welcome and signing ceremony, met with faculty to discuss future research and educational collaborations, attended Ph.D. student and faculty research presentations and toured the university campus, including the M2D2 laboratory space and the School of Nursing clinical nursing laboratories.
They also visited the Lowell Community Health Center, which was hosted by Yifat Peer, a UMass Lowell Ph.D. student and employee of the center. Nursing Ph.D. student Patricia Masson hosted the group at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she works.
The Thai visitors also toured the campuses of Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. While in Cambridge, they paid tribute to the site in Harvard Square that is dedicated in honor of their beloved former King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who was born at nearby Mount Auburn Hospital in 1927. His father, Prince Mahidol, studied at Harvard Medical School.
In 2017 and 2018, prior to the MOU, Mawn and Koren spent about one month living on the Naresuan University campus, teaching classes and consulting with faculty about publications, research and Ph.D. programs in the U.S. Thojampa coordinated the UML faculty visits, which included tours of community health centers, large tertiary hospitals and numerous historic sites across the northern region of Thailand.