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Initiative will benefit children in China and U.S. with brain, skull-base or spinal tumors
On January 12, 2018, in Beijing, China, leaders with GlobalMD Network Corporation and Wolfson Children’s Hospital of Jacksonville, Nemours Children’s Health System, and the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute, Jacksonville, Florida, will sign Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) to establishing a Sino-American Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Program.
Wolfson Children’s Hospital President Michael D. Aubin, Nemours Children’s Health System, Enterprise Vice President and Physician in Chief of Florida Operations, Michael J. Erhard, MD, UF Health Proton Therapy Institute Executive Director Stuart Klein along with Tim Shi, MD, PhD, Chief Officer for GlobalMD, China Office, will represent their respective organizations at the signing, which will be held at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Automation Institute in Beijing. Following the signing, key Chinese opinion leaders and oncologists will meet with the group from Jacksonville to learn more about three pediatric health care partners.
The initiative will formalize relationships between Wolfson Children’s, Nemours Children’s Specialty Care and the Proton Therapy Institute and children’s hospitals across China to enhance and develop new treatments for children for life-threatening brain, skull-base and spinal tumors.
The Sino-American Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Program will include collaboration in:
- Advanced training of physicians and nurses in pediatric neuro-oncologic and other pediatric health conditions
- Teleconsultation for pediatric patients in China referred through GlobalMD with Wolfson Children’s Hospital, Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, Jacksonville, and the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute
- Provision of gold-standard treatment protocols for referred pediatric patients, including proton therapy, chemotherapy, neurosurgery and other treatments for these complex disorders
- Tele-monitoring and evaluation of the outcomes of post-cancer treatment patients once they return home
- Neuro-oncology research in China and Jacksonville
This program falls under the joint mission of the Sino-American Collaboration Project on Clinical and Translational Medicine, established in 2010.
Dr. Shi said, "There are over half a million kids diagnosed with brain tumors in China every year, and until now, they have only been able to access available conventional radiotherapy or surgery. This collaboration between the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute, Nemours Children’s Health System, Wolfson Children’s Hospital and GlobalMD will help children from China better access to advanced proton therapy and skilled pediatric specialists in Jacksonville, bringing the best and precisely therapeutic solution for them and their conditions."
Wolfson Children’s Hospital President Michael D. Aubin said this initiative with GlobalMD greatly expands the positive and burgeoning relationship the Jacksonville pediatric health care partners have had with children’s hospitals in China for several years.
In 2015, Aubin and Dr. Erhard accompanied Thomas Chiu, MD, medical director of External Affairs, UF College of Medicine — Pediatrics, to China. There, they met with top hospital officials and medical schools in Beijing, Chengdu and Hong Kong to discuss further collaboration in medical education exchanges and implementation of evidence-based patient care protocols, as well as pediatric neuro-oncology patient referrals.
"Since then, we have continued to treat children from all over China here in Jacksonville, and we have held international pediatric medical forums in Beijing and Jacksonville, as well as bringing our pediatric physician experts to China for educational opportunities, and training Chinese physicians and nurses at our three facilities in Jacksonville," Aubin said. "It is exciting to see this partnership expand to have an even stronger impact on children with life-threatening conditions in China."
UF Health Proton Therapy Institute’s Executive Director Stuart Klein said the program, when fully executed, will build on successful agreements with other countries, including the United Kingdom, Norway and the Canadian Provinces of Quebec and Ontario.
"Since opening in 2006, the Institute has seen patients from more than 30 countries, including China, and is the largest pediatric proton therapy program worldwide," said Klein. "In the past two years since organizing a symposium on radiotherapy in China, the number of patients from China has grown to the point that we have added a staff person who helps Chinese families with communication, transportation and housing needs."
"This collaboration will bring together highly skilled physicians and nurses from miles apart bound by a common mission to teach and learn while delivering the highest quality care to children in need," said Dr. Erhard.
Services provided at Wolfson Children’s Hospital of Jacksonville, Florida, are provided primarily by pediatric physician specialists with Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, Jacksonville, and the University of Florida College of Medicine - Jacksonville.