A Brief History of ABMAC Foundation

The establishment of ABMAC Foundation was to continue the missions of the former ABMAC, Inc. (American Bureau for Medical Advancement in China, Inc., 1937-2003). In 1937 the former ABMAC was founded during the Japanese invasion of Mainland China, as “the American Bureau for Medical Aid to China.”  The co-founders were Dr. Farn B. Chu, Dr. Frank Co Tui, and Mr. Joseph Wei.  It was the first American organization to respond  to the health needs of China and the embattled Chinese people at that critical time.  Through ABMAC’s services, Americans and Chinese in many parts of the United States supplied China with millions of dollars worth of medical and hospital supplies and medical equipment.  Towards the end of the war, ABMAC started to help China's medical advancement by developing a Fellowship Training Program that has later been proven to have a very significant influence on China's medical development. Until 1949, ABMAC had not only invited U.S. medical and nursing specialists to guide China's health care education and public health, but also supported sending China's medical and nursing professionals to the U.S, for advanced education or training. Most of these trainees, after returning to China, became pioneers and authorities in the post-war medical development in China. When the Republic of China government moved to Taiwan in 1949, ABMAC terminated its mainland operations and assisted the advancement of medical education and health care in Taiwan. Major contributions to Taiwan's development of medical education came from the following ABMAC programs:

  1. A Fellowship training program to arrange Taiwan's medical and nursing professionals to come to the U.S. for advanced training.
  2. A Visiting professorship program to arrange the U.S. visiting professors to demonstrate the U.S. style bedside clinical education in Taiwan.
  3. A Medical student exchange program to arrange the U.S. fourth year medical students to experience Taiwan's medical education and also to arrange Taiwan's medical students to have exposure of the U.S. clinical clerkship training.
  4. Public health programs and conferences as requested by the public health authorities.
Among these programs, The H. William Harris Visiting Professorship has supported over 50 visiting professors to make and demonstrate bedside teaching rounds in more than 20 academic medical institutions in Taiwan. The recommendations made by these visiting professors have made a significant impact on the advancement of health care education in Taiwan. Upon the dissolution of ABMAC in 2003, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York held a party of appreciation for ABMAC's sixty-six year contributions to China's medical advancement. Attendees and speakers on this occasion included Ambassador Andrew Hsia, Drs. Ming-liang Li, Kun-yen Huang, Ken Wu, and Ms. Lian-hua Huang representing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Health, and the fields of Medical Education, Medical Research, and Nursing, respectively. Reviewing the history and projecting the future, these representatives of medical and nursing professionals expressed the strong wish to continue the U.S.-China medical exchange and friendship. Many attendees, including several former ABMAC officers and directors, wish to form a new ABMAC organization. This newly formed all volunteer organization seeks to continue the former ABMAC missions and goals for promoting health care education in China under the premise of low operating costs. The programs will be not only for Taiwan, but also extended to the mainland China, which was the original goal when ABMAC was founded in 1937.

The significance of ABMAC missions is further shown from the continuity of scholarly leadership as indicated in the following chronological roster of the ABMAC presidents 1937-2003.

Dr. George E. Vincent, 1938
Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, 1940-1941
Dr. Donald D. Van Slyke, 1941-1947
Dr. Magnus I. Gregersen, 1947-1956
Dr. Jerome P. Webster, 1956-1960
Dr. George E. Armstrong, 1960-1969
Dr. August H. Groeschel, 1969-1970
Dr. Aura E. Severinghaus, 1970-1974
Dr. George H. Humphreys, II, 1974-1979
Dr. Richard N. Pierson, Jr., 1979-1987
Dr. H. William Harris, 1987-1992
Dr. Donald Armstrong, 1992-1995
Dr. Gerald M. Turino, 1995-1999
Dr. Scott B. Halstead, 1999-2003