USF hopes to partner with China in seeking solutions to Alzheimer’s

At a signing ceremony April 1, Chinese health officials and leaders of USF Health and its Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute announced their intentions to forge collaborations in Alzheimer’s disease education and clinical research.

The ceremony culminated a three-day visit to USF by the six-member Chinese delegation representing the Tianjin Public Health Bureau; the Tianjin Huanhu Hospital Neurological and Neurosurgical Disease Center and its Department of Neurology; and the Tianjin Infectious Disease Hospital.

L to R:  USF Health CEO Dr. Stephen Klakso shakes hands with Dr. Changhong Shen, associate director of the Tianjin Public Health Bureau, and Dr. David Morgan with Dr. Jinhuan Wang, president of Tianjin Huanha Neurological Hospital.

“The increasing prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease is going to become a very significant problem for the United States and China as our populations continue to age,” said David Morgan, PhD, CEO of the USF Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute.

“In the long run, we hope that the relationship will permit some Chinese physicians to visit the United States to learn how we diagnose and treat Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders,” Dr. Morgan said. “In addition, between USF and Tianjin, we have tremendous patient population resources. We want to work together on mutually beneficial studies that will help us better understand causes and develop effective treatments for disease.”

While visiting USF, the Chinese delegates met with faculty from the College of Pharmacy, the College of Public Health, and the College of Medicine’s Division of Infectious Diseases and Department of Neurology. They toured the USF Health Simulation Center at Tampa General Hospital, the Hillsborough County Health Department, Moffitt Cancer Center, the Florida Department of Health Bureau of Laboratories-Tampa Branch Laboratory, and the USF Health Morsani Center for Advanced Healthcare, as well as the laboratories at the Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute.

Dr. Changong Shen speaks about the potential collaboration with USF Health and the Byrd Institute, as Dr. Chuanchi Cao (left), assistant professor of molecular pharmacology, stands by to translate.

Dr. Maria Crummet, associate vice president for USF Global Affairs, addressed the Chinese delegation.

Dr. John Sinnott (left), associate dean of USF Medicine International, and Dr. Morgan present a gift on behalf of USF Health to Dr. Shen of the Tianjin Public Health Bureau.

In foreground:  Dr. Wei Lu, president of Tianjin Infectious Disease Hospital, reviews USF Health literature.

The delegation from Tianjin, China, presented the USF Health leadership with a vibrant watercolor painting of cherry blossoms, which will hang in the Byrd Institute’s Complete Alzheimer’s CARE Center scheduled for completion Fall 2011.

Story by Anne DeLotto Baier, and photos by Eric Younghans, USF Health Communications