Fudan University


Initial discussions with Shanghai Medical University (SMU) began in early 1997.  The University’s Department of Occupational Health was well known nationally and internationally for work in occupational disease epidemiology and particularly toxicology.  However, at the time negotiations commenced, the Department did not conduct research or training in occupational injury, safety or ergonomics.

By the end of 1997 an initial cooperative agreement had been developed with two initial projects as noted below.  The focus of this program, based in the School of Public Health, Department of Occupational Health, was a shared interest in occupational injury and particularly epidemiologic research.  In particular the goal was to increase the understanding of occupational injury in China.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALMRIS and SMU co-organized an occupational safety conference in Shanghai in December 1997 with participation from Harvard, Aberdeen and the Chinese government. This became the inaugural model for two important series eventually co-organized with the Chinese government- The annual China SafeWork Forums held every year thereafter and the bi-annual China International Forums on Work Safety.  Fudan Center faculty contributed to our subsequent conferences in China as well as several international conferences (see list of conferences later in this section).

SMU eventually was merged into Fudan University per a Chinese governmental consolidation of higher education becoming the medical college of the university.  Our collaborating unit in Occupational Health is now within the Fudan School of Public Health.  Based on the success of the initial projects, in 2000 the Fudan agreement was expanded and the Liberty SafeWork Center at Fudan University was created in June of that year.  The three main priorities of the new Center included:

  • Conduct original research on ergonomics and work injuries epidemiology;
  • Seeking opportunities to publish and introduce findings in domestic & international journals with joint-papers by FUSPH and LMRIS
  • Human capacity building by offering graduate students training programs on ergonomic and work safety for candidates at doctorate &/or masters levels

The Center agreement also supported the development of new ergonomics lab capabilities including a Noraxon Telemyo 8-Channel System sEMG, Jackson Strength Evaluation System 32628DL*C, Holtain Ltd. Anthropometer (Model 98.601), and the OWAS Analysis System postural assessment.

The Center currently comprises 4 core faculty and 4 graduate students. At present, several second stage projects continue including the traumatic hand injury study which has recently entered its main stage of data collection in hospital surgical centers in four regions throughout China and with the cooperation of local Centers for Disease Control (see project list below).  The Fudan collaboration has also been the most productive to date in Asia with the majority of our joint published work in China.  The program has also been successful in obtaining additional external funding including a National Natural Science Foundation of China grant investigating the interaction of occupational and genetic factors for lumbar disc degeneration.

LMRIS directors conducted a formal site review in October of 2005 and noted the success of the program.   The SafeWork Center has resulted in the training of 3 doctoral students, 7 masters students, and completed two post-doctoral fellowships in the US in collaboration with LMRIS and Harvard.  Two of the doctoral trainees have contributed to the Center subsequently as faculty scientists.  The new Director of the Center, Associate Professor Ling Lei, is one of the doctoral program graduates.   The Center has published several peer-reviewed publications in the international press with LMRIS scientists (see publication list).  In addition Center faculty and students have published some 40 articles in the Chinese academic press.  As a result of that achievement, Fudan and LMRIS agreed to extend the program on an annual basis for 2006-2008.


Joint projects

Initial Projects 1997-2001

Occupational Fatalities in Chinese Worker Populations

Occupational Low Back Pain in China

Subsequent Projects 2002-2007

Low Back Pain in Chinese Workers and Return to Work

Work-related Acute Hand Trauma in China

Occupational Injuries and Costs


Exchange visits

  1. Fudan Senior Faculty Delegation Visit to LMRIS, Hopkinton, July 1997

Discussion of potential collaboration.

  1. LMRIS Core Faculty Visit to Fudan (SMU), Beijing, April 1999

Collaboration on current projects; visits to data collection sites.

  1. Zhao-lin Xia, Post-doctoral fellow at Harvard School of Public Health and LMRIS, September 1998-1999.
  2. LMRIS Site Visit to Fudan, Shanghai, June 2000

Inauguration of SafeWork Center agreement.

  1. Fudan Meeting with LMRIS, SAWS and partners, January 2001

Proposed national scale surveillance project- State Administration of Work Safety.


  1. LMRIS Site Visit to Fudan, Shanghai, April 2001

Closure discussions on initial projects; strategic focus and new projects discussion.

  1. LMRIS Site Visit to Fudan, Shanghai, March 2002

Discussion of project progress, new proposal evaluation.

  1. Fudan SafeWork Center Director Visit to LMRIS, Hopkinton, September 2003

Review of program progress and consideration of Center faculty and leadership.

  1. Kezhi Jin, Post-doctoral fellow at Harvard School of Public Health and LMRIS, September 2003 to June 2006.
  2. Fudan SafeWork Center Director meeting with LMRIS, Hopkinton, June 2004
  3. Fudan SafeWork Center Director meeting with LMRIS, Beijing, September 2004

Center Director succession, program progress.

  1. LMRIS Site Visit to Fudan, Shanghai, October 2005.

Formal site review and agreement to renew program.


Joint publications

The following list presents the published work emerging from the Fudan program including Research Institute scientist work with trainees and faculty at Fudan and Fudan post-doctoral fellows at Harvard.


  1. Jin, K., Sorock, G.S., Courtney, T.K., Liang, Y., Yoa, Z., Matz, S., and Ge, L., “Risk Factors for Work-Related Low Back Pain in the People’s Republic of China,” International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 26-33, 2000.
  2. Xia, Z., Courtney, T.K., Sorock, G.S., Zhu, J., Fu, H., Liang, Y., and Christiani, D.C., “Fatal Occupational Injuries in a New Development Area in the People’s Republic of China,” Journal  of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Vol. 42, No. 9,  917-922, 2000.
  3. Xia, Z., Sorock, G.S., Zhu, J., Courtney, T.K., Fu, H. , Liang, Y., and Christiani, D.C., “Fatal Occupational Injuries in the Construction Industry of a New Development Area in East China 1991 to 1997,” American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal, Vol. 61, pp. 733-737, 2000.
  4. Zhu, J. , Xia, Z., Christiani, D.C., Sorock, G.S., Ye T.T., Courtney, T.K., Zhu, T.K., Wu Q.M., Fu H., “Fatal Occupational Events In A Development Area in East China: 1991 to 1997,” Journal of Occupational Health (in Japanese), 42:276–280, 2000
  5. Jin, K., Sorock, G.S., and Courtney, T.K., “Prevalence of Low Back Pain in Three Occupational Groups in Shanghai, P.R. China,” Journal of Safety Research, Vol. 35, No. 1, pp. 23-28, 2004
  6. Xiao, G.B., Dempsey, P.G., Lei, L., Ma, Z.H., and Liang, Y.X., “Study on Musculoskeletal Disorders in a Machinery Manufacturing Plant,” Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Vol. 46, No. 4, pp. 341-346, 2004
  7. Lei, L., Dempsey, P.G., Xu, J., Ge, L., and Liang, Y., “Risk Factors for the Prevalence of Musculoskeletal Disorders Among Chinese Foundry Workers,” International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, Vol. 35, No. 3, pp. 197-204, 2005
  8. Xiao, G., Lei, L., Dempsey, P.G., Lu, B., and Liang, Y., “Isometric Muscle Strength and Anthropometric Characteristics of a Chinese Sample,” International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, Vol. 35, No. 7, pp. 674-679, 2005


International conference contributions

  1. Liang Y.X., Occupational Health in China: The Current Status and future perspectives, presented at the Symposium of From Research to Reality: Improving Workplace Safety and Health in China. Shanghai, 1997
  2. Liang Y.X., et al, Environmental and Medical Research Initiatives at Shanghai Medical University, presented at the China SafeWork Forum, Chongqing, 1999
  3. Liang Y.X., et al: A Sustainable Development of OSH Consulting Services: The Establishment of the Liberty Mutual SafeWork Center at the Medical Center of Fudan University (former Shanghai Medical University), presented at the China SafeWork Forum, Beijing, 2000
  4. Liang Y.X., Occupational Health and Safety in Machinery Industry, presented at the China SafeWork Forum, Shanghai, 2001
  5. Lei L. and Liang Y.X. Prevalence and risk factors of musculoskeletal disorders of foundry workers”, presented at the CybErg 2002
  6. Liang Y.X. Development and Evaluation of a Training Program on Occupational Ergonomics and Wark Safety for Small and Medium Sized Industries, at the China SafeWork Forum, Chongqing, 2003
  7. Lei L. and Liang Y.X. The Assessment of physical loads in foundry and investigation of work-related low back pain, presented at National Conference on Occupational Health, Kunming, 2003
  8. Lei L. and Liang Y.X. The prevalence of work related low back pain and the significance of using sEMG analysis of trunk muscles among foundry workers, presented at the PREMUS2004 Conference in Zurich, Switzerland on July 11th – 15th ,2004
  9. Lei L. and Liang Y.X. Muscles fatigue of erector spinae induced by repetitive lifting presented at the CybErg 2005


Graduate Trainees 1997-2005

Doctoral Trainees

Dr. K.Z. Jin, was awarded a PhD with his doctoral dissertation of “The Study on Work-related Low Back Pain” in 2000

Dr. L. Lei, was awarded a PhD  with her doctoral dissertation of “Ergonomic Basis of Low Back Injury in Foundry Workers” in 2002

Dr. G.B. Xiao, was awarded a PhD with his doctorate dissertation of “Ergonomic Assessment of Manual Materials Handling and the Recommended Lifting Weight Limit” in 2004


Post-doctoral Trainees

Dr. Z-L Xia, Associate Professor at Fudan completed a post-doctoral fellowship with LMRIS and Harvard from 1999-2000.  Research focus: Fatalities in Shanghai area workers.

Dr. L. Lei, Associate Professor at Fudan completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Umea International School of Public Health, Umea University, Sweden from 2004-2005.  Research focus:  Physical workload exposure in foundry work and prevalence of LBP in Cixi.

Dr. K.Z. Jin, Instructor at Fudan currently completing a post-doctoral fellowship with LMRIS and Harvard from 2003-2006.  Research focus:  National occupational mortality data, analytic epidemiology study of acute hand trauma in industrial workers in three eastern Chinese cities.


Masters Trainees

Seven masters students completed their theses in the following areas:

  • The Epidemiology of Occupational Injury in Chemical Industry : JIN,Rufeng.
  • Study on the Cost of Occupational Injury in Chemical Industry : LIU, Xinrong
  • Epidemiology of Occupational Injuries in Steel Enterprise : SHAO, Tao
  • Investigation of Occupational Injuries in a Railway Industry : WANG, Jin and LU, Guoliang
  • Epidemiology of Road Traffic Accidents in Shanghai : LU, Guoliang
  • Epidemiology of Occupational Injuries in a Shipyard in Shanghai : WANG, Yingli
  • Risk Factors and Intervening Study on Falls in Community elders : XIA, Qinghua



Currently there are three masters students in graduate training with the Center:


  • TANG, Ying , Interaction of Occupational and Genetic Factors for Lumbar Disc Degeneration.
  • YUAN, Hanyan, Work-related Low Back Pain, Treatment, and Factors Affecting the Outcomes and Return to Work.
  • GAO,Chunhua, Epidemiology of Occupational Injuries and Economic Loss in a Construction Corporation