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Dr. Dan Skinner brings insight on American health care and osteopathic medicine to Hungarian university during visiting professorship

Associate Professor of Health Policy at OHIO’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine Dr. Dan Skinner has spent the last year bringing his insight on public health and medicine to the prestigious Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary, serving as a visiting professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences.

During the year, Dr. Skinner delivered in-person lectures on American health care and osteopathic medicine, among other topics, and taught a one-week course entitled Comparative Health Systems at the University named for the famed Hungarian founder of epidemiology, Ignaz Semmelweis.

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Dr. Dan Skinner in front of Semmelweis University’s Faculty of Health Sciences (May 2023).

“As a distinguished scholar who is well versed in the art of comparing health systems, Semmelweis was honored to host Dr. Skinner,” Dr. Gabriella Dörnyei, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, said.

Dr. Skinner’s course on comparative health systems introduced Semmelweis students to the different philosophies, as well as successes and challenges of health care systems in countries as diverse as the United States, United Kingdom, Nigeria, and China, drawing on comparisons with Hungarian health care along the way. Throughout the course, Dr. Skinner emphasized the importance of developing the critical skills necessary to improve global health systems.

“Comparative health care is not only about learning new facts; it’s something of a creative venture,” Skinner explained. “Understanding different systems is the easy part. The hard part is to be courageous and humble enough to learn from them.”

One area in the Health Sciences at Semmelweis University that Skinner was able to work in and learn more about was their Health Tourism Management Specialization program which focuses on training students to take part in organizing and managing health promotion and the implementation of tourism development programs across the European Union. According to Skinner, Health Tourism is the practice of traveling to another country or destination with the main purpose to receive health care treatment, often times at a lower cost.

“I really enjoyed Dr. Skinner’s short course, which gave students in the Health Tourism program a framework for comparing different health care systems and helped us learn about what works and what doesn’t in other countries,” Patrik Palócz, a first-year Healthcare Management student said.

According to Dr. Helga Judit Feith, who leads the Department of Social Sciences at Semmelweis, “Dr. Skinner enriched the thinking of our Hungarian and foreign students, with new perspectives and complex insights, opening up opportunities for building further joint scientific and educational collaborations.” 

In addition to his teaching and mentoring of Semmelweis’s international students, who hail from Hungary, Iran, Norway, Romania, and beyond, Skinner also laid the foundation, in person and remotely, for an ongoing research program in health tourism and cross-border health policy. This research will continue throughout 2023 and beyond.

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(left to right) Dr. Zoltán Balogh, College professor, Vice Dean for Clinical Relations; Dr. Gabriella Dörnyei, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences; Dr. Daniel Skinner; Dr. Helga Judit Feith, Chair, Department of Social Sciences; Dr. István Vingender, College Professor, Vice Dean for Academic Affairs (September 2022)

“Dr. Skinner’s time on campus laid the foundation for what we hope will be an ongoing collaboration, including research and future presentations to our international student body,” Dr. Gabor Porsze, professor of innovation at Semmelweis, said.

Dr. Skinner hopes the collaboration will also afford opportunities for Hungarian students to visit OHIO and OHIO students to visit Hungary.

Dean Dörnyei also sees exciting potential in the collaboration.

“Intercultural dialogue and learning about world health systems is an important part of the new health tourism program at Semmelweis,” she added. “With Dr. Skinner serving as a connector, we look forward to continuing to build the relationship between our Faculty of Health Sciences and Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.”

Dr. Skinner is eager to bring what he learned back to Ohio University, especially to share his learning with osteopathic medical students at the Heritage College.

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Dr. Dan Skinner presenting a lecture during his Comparative Health Systems course (May 2023).

“When you take the time to talk with health professionals in other countries, it becomes clear that many of the challenges we face are the same,” he said. “And when they aren’t the same, there’s an opportunity for learning. Given the stakes of improving health outcomes around the world and the challenges we face, we can’t afford to squander those opportunities.”

June 7, 2023
Staff reports