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VCU Hosts Health Care Scholars from Kazakhstan

The VCU School of Medicine Department of Healthcare Policy and Research, together with the VCU Global Education Office (GEO), are hosting two international scholars from Kazakhstan during an innovative and comprehensive internship program to explore and learn new principles of health care policy, management and research.

This is the first group of scholars VCU has hosted from Kazakhstan’s Bolashak scholarship program. Bolashak means “The Future” in Kazakh.

Aygul K. Kaptagayeva, M.D., Ph.D., D.Sc., director of the Center of Education in Health at the National Center for Health Development, and Raushan Issayeva, M.D., D.Sc., deputy director of the Center for Life Sciences at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan, are both health care policy makers with years of experience in the areas of postgraduate medical education, medical sciences and human resource development in Kazakhstan.

At VCU, Kaptagayeva and Issayeva will learn new principles of health care policy, management and research. To accomplish these goals, the Department of Healthcare Policy and Research will arrange for a variety of didactic lectures, interactive seminars, site visits and practicums at research and health care facilities at VCU. The scholars will develop academic and grant writing skills and complete six months of English language training.

Upon their return to Kazakhstan, they will implement the knowledge and experiences gained while at VCU to assist the Government and the Ministry of Health of Kazakhstan.

“It is our hope that this internship is the first step toward a fruitful and long-lasting academic and research collaboration with scholars and the Bolashak program,” said Askar Chukmaitov, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Healthcare Policy and Research, who is a Kazakh native.

“The program helps develop a global presence and supports interdisciplinary research and training relationships abroad which are key priorities at VCU,” he said.

Chukmaitov submitted a proposal to the Bolashak program and was awarded a grant from the Kazakh Government to train health care policy scholars at VCU.

The Bolashak scholarship program was launched as a key priority of President Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan in 1993 to develop and modernize the society. According to Chukmaitov, approximately 3,000 Kazakh students and scholars are identified annually through a highly selective process and placed at the best universities around the globe.

Kazakhstan is situated at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, bordering Russia, China and other Central Asian countries. Considered “a beacon of stability,” Kazakhstan is a trusted partner and an ally of the U.S. in the strategic Central Asia Region. Investments in health care and education are important areas of international cooperation for both countries.

Kaptagayeva and Issayeva were welcomed to VCU during a reception last week.


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From left to right: Aygul K. Kaptagayeva, M.D., Ph.D., D.Sc., director of the Center of Education in Health at the National Center for Health Development, Askar Chukmaitov, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the VCU Department of Healthcare Policy and Research, and Raushan Issayeva, M.D., D.Sc., deputy director of the Center for Life Sciences at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan. Kaptagayeva and Raushan are visiting VCU as Bolashak Scholars. Photo by University Relations.
From left to right: Aygul K. Kaptagayeva, M.D., Ph.D., D.Sc., director of the Center of Education in Health at the National Center for Health Development, Askar Chukmaitov, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the VCU Department of Healthcare Policy and Research, and Raushan Issayeva, M.D., D.Sc., deputy director of the Center for Life Sciences at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan. Kaptagayeva and Raushan are visiting VCU as Bolashak Scholars. Photo by University Relations.