In late June, a delegation of international pediatric experts from Children’s National Health System journeyed across the world to learn about the practice of pediatric medicine in China and to exchange ideas with colleagues there. Leaders from several of Children’s key specialties joined the delegation, including:
- Sarah Birch, D.N.P., C.P.N.P.-P.C., director, Advance Practice Nursing
- Roberta DeBiasi, M.D., chief, Infectious Disease
- William Gaillard, M.D., chief, Epilepsy and Neurophysiology
- Lawrence Jung, M.D., chief, Rheumatology
- Robert Keating, M.D., chief, Neurosurgery
- Peter Kim, M.D., vice president, Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, associate surgeon-in-chief
- Yang Liu, Ph.D., director, Center for Cancer and Immunology Research
- Michael Mintz, Psy.D., developmental psychologist
- Pamela Mudd, M.D., otolaryngologist
- Xiaoyan Song, Ph.D., director, Infection Control/Epidemiology
The group, led by Drs. Keating and Gaillard, traveled to China with Children’s Outreach Coordinator John Walsh, whose longtime connections and close familiarity with the pediatric medical community in Hangzhou and Shanghai made the collaboration possible. The team toured several of the largest children’s hospitals in country, including The Children’s Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine in Hangzhou and Shanghai Children’s Medical Center, connecting with pediatric specialists there.
“Some of the most important parts of this trip were the opportunities to exchange ideas and solidify long term relationships that will allow us to work closely with our peers in China as they develop their pediatric programs. The potential is tremendous for unique collaborations between our teams and theirs for research and the development of clinical care improvements for children,” said Roger Packer, M.D., senior vice president of the Center for Neuroscience and Behavioral Health, who joined the delegation in Beijing.
A keynote lecture and more at the 3rd China International Forum on Pediatric Development
The delegation also was honored with an invitation to participate in the 3rd China International Forum on Pediatric Development. The forum is one of the largest pediatric focused meetings in the country and is led by all the major children’s hospitals in China, including those in Beijing and Shanghai. Close to 4,000 pediatricians attended the meeting, and presenters included esteemed international leaders in pediatric medicine from around the world.
Dr. Packer delivered one of the opening keynote lectures, entitled, “Translation of molecular advances into care: the challenge ahead for children’s hospitals.” His talk focused on the tremendous promise and significant challenges posed by the latest scientific advances, through the lens of a neurologist.
“Across the world, we are looking at the same challenges: How can we use scientific advances to find better outcomes? How can we financially support the new types of interventions made possible by these molecular biologics insights when they can cost millions of dollars for one patient?”
“There’s palpable excitement that these new developments will give us potential therapies we never dreamed about before, ways to reverse what we initially thought was irreversible brain damage, ways to prevent severe illnesses including brain tumors, but the issue is how to turn this promise into reality. That’s a worldwide issue, not simply a single country’s issue,” he continued.
He also flagged mental health and behavioral health as a crucial, universal challenge in need of addressing on both sides of the Pacific.
The Children’s National delegation, including Drs. DeBiasi, Song, Keating, Gaillard and Packer were also honored to share their insight in a series of specialty-specific breakout sessions at the Forum.
Overall, the long journey opened a dialogue between Children’s National and pediatric care providers in China, paving the way for future discussion about how to learn from each other and collaborate to enhance all institutions involved.