What makes a good partner? The question came up in a discussion I had today with Lia Tadesse, a key figure in the University of Michigan’s rapidly expanding collaboration with St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium College in Addis Ababa. Tadesse is an OB-GYN physician and vice provost for academics and research at St. Paul’s.
The ideal partners are willing to listen and focus on St. Paul’s needs, she said. “We have seen in some cases previously that some partners would come with their own perceived idea about what we need, and it doesn’t fit,” Tadesse noted. “So partners who are open to give what is needed, based on the needs of the institution or country, is one priority.”
Forming solid relationships is also important. “We don’t see our partnerships just as partnerships,” Tadesse said.
She noted that when Senait Fisseha, an associate professor in OB-GYN at U-M, began working with St. Paul’s to set up the collaboration, she established ties across hospital departments and at every level, not only with top management.
“The huge strength of this collaboration is that there are quite a lot of strong relationships,” Tadesse said. “It’s just not as partners working together but as colleagues and good friends. So it gives us the openness to discuss everything.”