Schulich Medicine & Dentistry takes part in West China-Kilborn Surgical Symposium

West China-Kilborn Surgical Symposium

Seven faculty members recently traveled to Chengdu, China to take part in the West China-Kilborn Surgical Symposium — a collaborative initiative of Schulich Medicine & Dentistry and the West China School of Medicine, Sichuan University. The purpose of the Symposium was to enhance research and education related to multiple surgical subspecialties.

Approximately 300 people from Canada and China’s Sichuan province region attended the event to tour the West China Hospital and listen to lectures on a variety of surgical topics from faculty members from both Schools.

Dr. John Denstedt, who helped to organize the event, said that it was a success on all fronts.

In his role as Special Advisor to the Dean for Health Globalization, Internationalization and Simulation; Professor and Chair/Chief of the Department of Surgery; and Co-Director of the Symposium, Dr. Denstedt believed the Symposium helped to continue to build the relationship between Schulich Medicine & Dentistry and the West China School of Medicine. The Symposium also served as an in-person introduction to the true essence of internationalization for several faculty members who attended.

“When you talk about internationalization, unless you’ve actually had the opportunity to go abroad and experience it, you only have a vague idea of what is actually going on,” he explained. “I think our faculty members now see the importance of looking outward and being involved in international activity, and more fully understand the positive aspects that can come of it.”

Dr. David Steven, Associate Professor in the Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences; Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics; and Program Director for the Neurosurgery Residency Program, said the obvious benefit of putting on these events is to build the Schulich Medicine & Dentistry name on an international level — something he would like to be a part of.

“As an academic surgeon, I believe it is essential that we interact with other academic surgeons for mutual benefit, as this type of interaction allows both parties to see different ways of doing things,” Dr. Steven said. “Doing so on a local or national scale is good, but the benefit of global interactions such as this one is to have a much more heterogeneous experience.”

The Symposium was also established to help honour the legacy of Drs. Omar and Retta Kilborn of Canada, who were visionary pioneers in modernizing medicine and medical education in Chengdu, China. Together they founded two hospitals, a university and a medical college.

Their grandson, Dr. Robert Kilborn, helped to establish the Kilborn Family Memorial Visiting Scholar Fund in 2014 to build an ongoing relationship between both Schools. The endowment will fund an exchange between the two Schools every year.

Dr. Denstedt said the Schools are already in discussion to host the next event at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, and have discussed the possibility of student and faculty exchanges — a strategic goal that fulfils the School’s aspiration to have more international experiences available for students.

Dr. Denstedt would also like to highlight the involvement of the Canadian Government, as he has been supported immensely in China by its Canada Trade Commissioner Service. Officials have completed work to help network Schulich Medicine & Dentistry with equivalent government officials in China, and facilitated and supported the entire partnership between the Schools.