BenU preparing Chinese student to become health care change agent

July 27, 2017

Lisle, Illinois ~ One-third of the world’s smokers. The highest number of diabetics in the world. Illness from water and air pollution. An increasing population of elderly patients and the demand for more experienced health care professionals.

China faces many public health challenges. Among them is the need to improve the management of health care servicesElizabeth Jiayi Yu for the country’s 1.3 billion people. It’s a monumental task student Elizabeth Jiayi Yu wants to help solve once she earns a Ph.D. in Organization Development at Benedictine University.

After studying Biomedical Electronic Engineering in Singapore, working in dental surgery, interning at the Second Hospital of Dalian Medical University (DMU) and earning a degree in Clinical Medicine, Yu decided to expand her knowledge base by enrolling in Benedictine’s Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) program at DMU in 2013.

“During my medical study and internship, I realized that there were still issues that needed to be solved and structures that needed to be improved,” she said. “I also developed a great interest in health care management. I believe that the future of health in China requires a professional approach to health policy and prevention.”

In the program at DMU, Yu benefited from professors with real-world experience who provided individualized attention and guidance concerning her professional growth and career plans.

“They are patient, knowledgeable and always make their students a priority,” she said. “I have learned how health policy and prevention are the foundation of population health. This was confirmed and strengthened by case studies and community-based research, which encouraged me to take the next educational step.”

While in the M.P.H. program, Yu learned more about Benedictine’s renowned Ph.D. in Organization Development (OD) program and its approach to implementing strategic change within institutions and large organizations. Understanding how this knowledge could be applied to China’s health care institutions, she enrolled in the program and soon found herself in courses led by some of the pre-eminent scholars in the field, Peter Sorensen, Ph.D., and Therese Yaeger, Ph.D., on the University’s Lisle campus.

“It’s beyond words to express how excellent they are as mentors,” Yu said. “Their inspirational, creative teaching methods helped me improve greatly in a short amount of time.”

(L-R) Peter Sorensen, Ph.D., Elizabeth Jiayi Yu and Therese Yaeger, Ph.D.While in the program, she heard from visiting scholars like Michael Beer, the Cahners-Rabb Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus at the Harvard Business School, who presented “High Commitment, High Performance: How to Build a Resilient Organization for Sustained Advantage” and Edgar Schein, Ph.D., the Society of Sloan Fellows Professor of Management Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who discussed his groundbreaking book, “Humble Consulting: How to Provide Real Help Faster.”

She also attended the 2016 Academy of Management Annual Conference in Anaheim, Calif., and in advance of her dissertation, presented her paper, “Organizational Development in Hospital Management” at the Midwest Academy of Management Conference in Fargo, N.D.

In addition to health care, the OD program prepares individuals for high-level careers in human resources, consulting, research, business, higher education and public administration.

The program is recognized locally, nationally and internationally as a leader in providing education toward managing the human side of enterprise, which includes global interdependence, workforce diversity and the management of change – the hallmarks of excellent managers and leading-edge companies.

“For a health professional, the program is a window into the concepts of organizational dynamics that help bring meaning to things we see every day, but are not well-equipped to deal with,” Yu said. “I am now immersed in ideas I hardly knew about before and have learned to express myself in academic English, collaborate with others, engage in research and solve real-world problems.

“We live in an international world today,” she added. “My goal now is to promote the exchange and development of health care in both the United States and China.”


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has a branch campus in Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls more than 5,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the eighth consecutive year in 2018. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission ( For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, or visit

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