UW News

February 2, 2006

Training the teachers: Chinese professionals study simulated surgery

A contingent of Chinese medical school presidents, deans and faculty recently visited the UW Institute for Surgical and Interventional Simulation (ISIS) to explore how to train physicians in rural and urban locations throughout China in the latest advances in medicine.

ISIS features state-of-the-art computer technology and a human-like robot that enables residents and medical students to hone their skills in conducting numerous medical procedures in real time.

The group from Central South University in Changsha, China, and a group from China Medical University, Shenyang, are interested in replicating selected aspects of the UW School of Medicine’s model of training physicians in the WWAMI region.

Dr. Lucy Yi, head of the Department of Medical Education at Central South University of China, said the use of technology was impressive and would be an important tool to train physicians who are in faraway places.

She is one of six Chinese visiting scholars studying for nine months in the UW Department of Medical Education and Biomedical Informatics.

They will return to work in the Center for Medical Education Research and Development at Central South University, one of three such programs developed under the leadership of Dr. Charles Dohner, professor emeritus and former chair of the Department of Medical Education and Biomedical Informatics.

Dohner initiated a faculty-student exchange program in 1984, allowing fourth-year medical students the opportunity to spend up to six weeks studying in China. In exchange, Chinese faculty come to the UW for a three- to six-month program in medical education and medical school administration.

Dohner said he started the program after visiting Africa in the 1970s to evaluate a maternal and child health program. “I was appalled at the level of health care and saw a need and great opportunity to establish medical education programs in underserved parts of the world.”