Global Medical Cooperation With the East and West: Achieve Excellence in Craniofacial Surgery

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The medical and healthcare in China is of vital importance to its population of >1.3 billion, and is a major issue concerning its people's well-being. Recently, the healthcare and medical education in China is undergoing changes. Since 2009, China has ignited the most significant healthcare reforms with the goal to fulfill the people's needs and satisfaction. Through healthcare reform, the resident and fellow training system also began to change. I was lucky to experience the reformation of the healthcare and medical education, joined the new medical education training system in China, and moreover, I had the opportunity to enroll in the world-class medical training in the United States. Under the guidance of mentors in the East and West, I learned more about the plastic and the craniofacial surgery, but how we can do our best to improve the life quality of patients.
The international exchanges and cooperation play an important role in the development of Chinese modern plastic and craniofacial surgery. The history of plastic surgery in China can dates back to about 17 centuries ago when Chinese ancestors documented a case of cleft lip repair, whereas the concepts of modern plastic surgery were imported from the West. In 1929, Dr Baochun Ni founded the first plastic surgery department in Shanghai after he earned his MD degree in the United States. After World War II, Dr Tisheng Chang and Dr Ruyao Song came back to China after fulfilling their plastic surgery training in the United States and established plastic surgery treatment and training center in Shanghai and Beijing, respectively. In 1948, Dr J. Webster from the United States held the first plastic surgery workshop in Shanghai, spreading pertinent knowledge and skills. These are the seeds of modern plastic surgery planted in China. During the closed-door policy in 1949 to 1979, the Chinese doctors did not have the opportunity to communicate with foreign experts and had only a few international journals to learn the latest medical developments from abroad. During this period, China's medical development showed a slow progression. However, in Shanghai, plastic and reconstructive surgery was still gradually improved. Dr Tisheng Chang developed craniofacial surgery in 1977 after he performed the first hypertelorism case in China and then founded the first craniofacial team and center in Shanghai. During the early open period since 1979, he invited many key persons in craniofacial surgery, such as Dr Paul Tessier et al. lectured and demonstrated craniofacial surgical techniques. Plastic surgeons from West countries continuously came to visit Shanghai, giving lectures about cutting-edge technologies and concepts. In 1982, Dr Tisheng Chang awarded ASPS/PSEF Maliniac Lecture, presented 1-hour lecture about the history and progress of plastic and reconstructive surgery in China, shared the experience, and let the international colleges know more about the situations in China. Dr Tisheng Chang always said: Thanks to the international teamwork and exchange endorsed the rapid development of plastic and reconstructive surgery in our centers. Nowadays, numerous workshops and seminars have been held across the country, attracting plastic surgery practitioners from all over the world to learn and share experiences. International communications helped us improve the plastic and craniofacial surgery in China and keep us following the footsteps of the development. Today, cranial and maxillofacial surgery of the Shanghai 9th people's hospital Shanghai Jiao Tong University has a total of 3000 procedures with cleft lip and palate and craniofacial malformation every year, and the surgeons also participated in local and international craniofacial charity programs. Therefore, it also attracted to Southeast Asia international fellow doctors came here to learn and get plastic and reconstructive training.
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