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Preface: A developmental view: The Sino-American symposium on clinical and translational medicine

This symposium is a seed, planted in fertile ground and having all of the environmental conditions needed to grow and flourish. The Sino-American Symposium (SAS) was born of both a need and a vision. As a unique initiative to promote scientific collaboration on clinical and translational medicine, its timing was precise, the participants committed, and the growth strong. Like a child, her development is continuing.

A simple idea to develop an event to facilitate sharing and communication of expertise among the U.S. and Chinese health care practitioners and researchers, the SAS-CTM came about quite naturally. GlobalMD had been active in bringing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center-designed courses on the principles and practice of clinical research to China. As the cadre of trained persons grew, the need arose to find a way to further promote true international collaborations that would permit a global vision for fighting deadly diseases together.

Since this idea coincided with the mission of GlobalMD "to improve global health care through professional development, research and collaboration without borders," we pursued and developed possibilities for organizing an international symposium. With generous support and encouragement from individual physicians, researchers, and health care leaders, as well as respected academicians, institutions, universities, and government agencies, SAS became a reality. We have begun to build up a virtual platform for effective and meaningful communication between health care practitioners and researchers in the United States, China, and around the globe, focusing on clinical and translational medicine.

We have seen that Sino-American collaboration encourages each party to capitalize on the strengths of the other, the United States with advanced biomedical knowledge and technological resources, and China with its fast economic growth, large research capacity, and vast resources in the biomedicine field. SAS is continually expanding ways of learning and acting within its remit: To motivate scientists and researchers to collaborate. We now have a venue to share multidisciplinary work; to break through the fences and walls created by social ideologies, and to cross borders in the scientific quest so as to provide benefits to both the researchers and the societies in which they live.

Recently, the final flight of the Space Shuttle Atlantis marked not only the end of the 30-year historic space shuttle program in the United States, but also a milestone for humankind as this revolutionary space transportation program came to a close. Similarly, progress in the development of SAS leads us to believe that, 10 years from now, this symposium will play a significant role in both biomedical science and health care driven by translational sciences. Working together, globally, we can anticipate the many positive outcomes that will result from the powerful creativity brought together and harnessed for the future of medicine.

Tim Z. Shi, M.D., Ph.D.
Executive Director for Global MD
Organization (GlobalMD)

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