USF Health & China: Improving Breast Cancer Surgical Research & Training

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Spotlight on International Agreements

International agreements are a physical demonstration of USF’s ability to work and engage with colleagues around the world. They lay the foundation for the development of mutually strengthening and enriching international educational and research experiences for both faculty and students. Currently the University of South Florida has 130 collaborative agreements with over 40 countries. These agreements pave the way for the USF’s position as a global institution.

In March 2008, Vice President Xiaoming Wang and eight officials from Capital Medical University in Beijing, China traveled to USF with the vision of establishing a collaborative Breast Cancer Surgical Research and Training Program. The purpose of their visit: establish an agreement with USF Health, which will serve as the first step towards building a bridge of collaboration to the world’s most populous country. This agreement is one of eight signed in the past two years under the direction of the COM Office of International Affairs, which was established in 2005.

Dr. Lynette Menezes, Director of International Affairs for the College of Medicine explains, “Signing a formal agreement of collaboration is symbolic ― it embodies intellectual synergy and broadens local horizons. It signifies we are serious about working with your institution and we want to make a difference together. Developing collaborations with international institutions is challenging and requires unique skills, special sensitivity and respect for each others interests and cultures. Therefore, agreements are co-signed by the highest authorities of an institution which implies a buy-in by the leadership of each institution to work together as a unified team on the global stage.”

Cultural Recognitions
These agreements are critical for many cultures because they are written documents of mutual interest. As Dean Maria Crummett explains, “It’s the beginning of that recognition and trust. It shows that we have a bond and we want to strengthen that. And it is very important to have that face to face contact to have the visitors come.” When countries like China with such a promising future for medical breakthroughs reach out to the United States it is essential that we take advantage of these opportunities.

Forging a bond: Capital Medical University
USF’s collaborative agreement with Capital Medical University from Beijing focuses on developing a breast cancer surgical research and training program in Beijing. Projects will include student exchange, and involve the complex exchange of research, training, and interventions. Capital Medical University is attempting to create specialized centers at their institution in Beijing, China similar to those offered by USF Health. According to Dr. Cox, the goal of the Chinese is to be able to create a system where, “Multiple disciplines work together under one umbrella of administrative care.”

The concept is simple, but the possibilities are endless: develop specialty doctors in areas of China, where holistic medicine is more commonly practiced. Dr. Cox hopes that Capital Medical University can initiate a curriculum similar to the CRISP Program that has begun at the Morsani Center. This collaborative agreement will benefit patients by allowing both superpowers to exchange research and results.

Setting the stage: The Confucius Institute
The backdrop for the agreement signing was the Confucius Institute, an emblem of USF’s international outlook. The Confucius Institute will assist the educational and business communities in Tampa Bay to develop closer ties with China through Chinese language instruction and cultural exchange. USF is the first university in Florida and the first major public research university in the Southeastern United States to establish a Confucius Institute, which is one of only forty two in the United States. The Confucius Institute will be yet another way for USF to spread its message on a global stage.

Story by Julian Corvin and Kaeley Hamilton, USF Division of Infectious Disease & International Medicine/ Photos by Eric Younghans, USF Health Communications

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From L to R: Dr. Charles Cox, Professor of Surgery, USF with Vice President Xiaoming Wang from Capital Medical University

From L to R: Dean of USF International Affairs, Dr. Maria Crummett and Vice President Xiaoming Wang, Capital Medical University sign the agreement

At Center: Dr. Charles Cox, Dr. Lynette Menezes, Dean Maria Crummet and Vice President Xiaoming Wang with other faculty from Capital Medical University

Other Links:
USF Health International Affairs, College of Medicine
USF International Affairs