Open Doors: Educating Chinese Doctors on Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (FGIDs) October 2013

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This is me in the waiting area before presentation. In the US people rush to their presentations, in Asia you relax in a quiet area where they give tea and snacks.

With growing Chinese interest in learning about functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs), I was invited to speak on IBS and constipation at three events in Shanghai, China in late September. First, I spoke to a group of key gastroenterologists who are working in Functional GI Disorders (FGIDs). Next, I spoke at the Chinese Congress of Digestive Disorders(CCDD)  and then I spoke at the World Congress of Gastroenterology. While in Shanghai, I had the opportunity to meet with Yunshang Yang, MD, who is the President of the GI Society as well as the head of the GI group at the Peoples Liberation Army Hospital. With 6500 beds, this hospital is the largest hospital in the world. Dr. Yang is very interested in FGIDs since this area of gastroenterology isn’t well taught in China. As part of an important Rome Foundation initiative with China,  I am developing collaborations for training his physicians through the Rome Foundation where I serve as president.


On a Shanghai street – From left – Jeff Johnston MD the VP of Medical Research Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, me, Tony Lembo MD Gastroenterologist at Beth Israel Hospital, Associate Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School-who was another invited speaker and member of Rome IV committee, Machelle Manuel Senior Director , Medical Sciences & Communications, Ironwood Pharmaceuticals.

I also spoke at an Astra Zeneca Advisory board meeting to key gastroenterologists in China working in FGIDs. During my down time, I was fortunate to do a little sightseeing and have posted some photos here as well. Shanghai is located in central-eastern China, on the East China Sea. Basically,  Shanghai is sectioned into two parts: Pudong (to the east of the Huangpu River) and Puxi (to the west of the Huangpu River). Most of the historical and scenic sites in Shanghai are in Puxi while Pudong is the new development area. Shanghai literally means “the

City by the Sea”. It has such important sites as the Bund, Temple of Jade Budha, Yu Garden, Old City Bazaar, Shanghai Museum, Children’s Palace, Xintiandi, Former Residence of Dr. Sun Yat Sen, Oriental TV Tower, Shanghai Nanjing Road, and Huangpu River cruising.



Rome Foundation’s Role in China

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Presenting to gastroenterologists on FGIDs, China, September 2013

I’m proud to say that over the last 2-3 years the Rome Foundation has introduced a major initiative to expand their global educational and research activities including the Rome IV project with Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia.With regard to Asia, the Rome Foundation is pleased to have Meiyun Ke MD (China) join the International Liaison Group to help promote educational activities and serve as a liaison to the Rome Foundation from this geographical area. We are excited about educating Chinese doctors on functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) so they may better serve their patients.

In addition, the Rome Foundation has created an Asian Committee for FGIDs (Chair, Kok An Gwee, Singapore, co-chair Bill Whitehead, USA) which is seeking to understand symptoms from the Asian perspective. This information will be incorporate into the Rome IV committee work. A working team committee has also been established to look at cross cultural research (Ami Sperber, chair) which includes members Shin Fukudo (Japan) and Minhu Chen (China). For Rome IV, there will be a chapter on Multi-cultural Aspects of FGIDs (Chair Ami Sperber, Israel, co-chair Carlos Francisconi, Brazil) with Xiuicai Fang (China) as a member, and also a Questionnaire committee seeking to validate the Rome IV criteria in several languages (Bill Whitehead, USA Chair) which includes Yunsheng Yang (China).


Pictured from Left: Yunsheng Yang MD, Director of the Gastroenterology Program at Chinese PLA General Hospital, John Kellow MD (Australia) RF Board member, Lin Chang MD (USA) RF Board member and chair of RF Education Committee, Ami Sperber (Israel), chair of the Cross-cultural Research and Multi-Cultural Aspects of FGIDs committees, Doug Drossman (USA), President of Rome Foundation.

In October, 2012 with the assistance of the North American Educational Foundation (NAMEF) directed by Wenjing Ding, MD, members of the Rome Foundation Board (Doug Drossman, USA, Lin Chang USA, and John Kellow, Australia) as well as Rome Member Ami Sperber (Israel) gave presentations on upcoming Rome IV activities at the Festival of Gastroenterology and Endoscopy FGE 2012, Sanya at the Sanya Island and then moved to Beijing to provide an introduction and workshop on the use of the Rome Foundation Diagnostic Algorithms at the FGE 2012 Beijing with Chinese Society of Gastroenterology at the Chinese PLA General Hospital. They were joined by Ceciel Rooker, RF Marketing, Development and Public Relations who set up booths at both locations to distribute the Rome Foundation Diagnostic Algorithms, newly translated into Chinese by Yunsheng Yang, Lihua Peng and Qiyang Huang.

Dr. Yang is committed to training Chinese gastroenterologists within his facility in the area of FGIDs. Accordingly, in cooperation with NAMEF, the Chinese PLA hospital and the Rome Foundation, an in-house training program is being developed for their new international training center. The groundbreaking ceremony was held at the 2012 meeting in Beijing. My trip there last month was the first of a series of trips Rome Foundation members will take to Beijing to provide lectures and workshops in the FGIDs. A planning committee from the Rome Foundation (Lin Chang USA, chair, Douglas Drossman (USA) and Magnus Simren, Sweden) will work with representatives of NAMEF and the Chinese PLA hospital to develop a unique curriculum to help increase greater knowledge of these disorders.


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