Longwood Translational Medicine China Initiative was founded by Prof. Shirley Liu (HSPH/DFCI) and Dr. Jiping Wang (BWH/DFCI/HMS) in 2013, It was created to help visiting Chinese physicians and biomedical researchers in the greater Boston area to understand the infrastructure of the health care delivery system and to learn basic and translational research processes in the U.S. Biweekly lectures were offered that covered topics such as the research design and clinical management practices at major Boston hospitals and research institutions. The early lectures focused on bioinformatics and epigenetics, Dr. Liu’s major interests, and clinical practices, Dr. Wang’s specialty.
Over time, the focus of the lectures became broader reflecting the interests and concerns of the students. Presentations were included that addressed how to adapt positive US practices and research methodology into the Chinese health care system. The range of topics expanded to be both more specific and more comprehensive. For example, an editor from NEJM spoke about how submissions are evaluated for publication. Another speaker discussed the procedure for preparing a strong grant proposal.
In 2014, we began to offer monthly workshops on various ‘hands-on’ issues. The workshops are more interactive than the lectures; participants are able to ask questions and get advice about routine hospital or health care issues. Workshops have covered such diverse topics as patient-doctor relationships in the US compared to China, the use of robots in surgery and discussion of clinical cases as treated in China and the US.
Our overall training program has addressed multiple topics across clinical, research and translational medicine: the American work ethic, general patient care practices, medical quality assessment, comprehension of academic medical articles and the application of research findings to clinical situations. The need for this program is made clear in that over 600 Chinese physicians and scholars have participated in just two years. These scholars came from over 230 different hospitals and universities in China. Many of them have returned to their home institutions and are using what they learned through this program in their daily practice and research activities. They also bring the ‘culture’ of the Longwood Medical Area to each location in China. Former students who return to China bring the passion for learning and for excellence to their society, using that energy to affect those around them. Occasionally, our alumni will get together at conferences to share their memories and to learn from one another about transferring their learning to their current situations.
Over the four years that LTMCI has existed, many physicians and other scientists have served as lecturers or workshop leaders. These leaders have come from such hospitals and institutions as Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.