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UW Surgery collaborates with Beijing counterparts



Award to Dr. Chen

Dr. Chen Lin of  Chinese PLA General Hospital accepted a gift after speaking at the UW-Madison surgery department’s Grand Rounds series last month.  From left are: Dr. Bruce Harms, General Surgery Chair Dennis Lund, Dr. Chen and Dr. Kenneth Kudsk.

Doctors in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Surgery are finding new ways to collaborate with their colleagues at a major hospital in Beijing.

Dr. Chen Presentation

The new collaboration was launched in March during a business trip to China by Dr. Bruce Harms, chief of the Colorectal Surgery Section at UW-Madison.  Dr. Harms visited Chinese PLA General Hospital in Beijing, a 5,000-bed medical and research center formerly known as the “301 Military Hospital” (PLA stands for People’s Liberation Army). Dr. Harms left Beijing wanting to know more about Chinese PLA’s extensive experience in treating gastric cancer.

"We don’t see that process here," he explained. "They have more gastric cancer and we have more colon cancer."

This led to an invitation for Chinese PLA surgeon Dr. Li Tao to spend 2011 as an honorary fellow at UW-Madison.  Dr. Li then arranged for a two-day visit to Madison last month by his professor, Dr. Chen Lin, a leading figure in gastro-intestinal cancer treatment in China and chair of the Department of Surgery at Chinese PLA.

Dr. Chen’s presentation included videos of Chinese advances in gastric cancer surgery techniques.

Over half of all gastric cancer cases occur in China, which Dr. Chen said is seeing an increasing incidence and high mortality rate.  “It has a very poor five-year survival rate,” he said to an audience of several dozen surgeons in a lecture room at the Health Sciences Learning Center Jan. 26.

After viewing videos of cancer surgery techniques, audience members asked Dr. Chen about how his hospital trains its interns for such a large caseload and whether cancer screening is available in China.  Dr. Chen responded that training of interns in China is “not advanced,” and that cancer screening is limited, which increases the mortality rate. 

The high volume typical of major hospitals like Chinese PLA is one area where UW-Madison surgeons see a potential for collaborations.  As one doctor at the lecture noted, Chinese hospitals have the volume, while UW-Madison has the expertise in training residents.

Dr. Li and Dr. Chen

Dr. Chen (at right) visited UW-Madison, where his student, Dr. Li Tao (at left) is spending the year as a honorary fellow.

Dr. Harms is currently working with Dr. Li and fellow UW surgeons Drs. Jack Jiang (otolaryngology) and Herbert Chen (endocrine cancer) to develop a strategy for collaborations in China and involvement in the Wisconsin China Initiative.



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