CITRIS Health in Asia: Sharing Solutions Across Borders

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U.S.-Pacific Rim Training in Surgical Robotics and Informatics: A high yield CITRIS collaboration sponsored by First Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University and Lingnan Foundation


Why focus on robotics and informatics?

Innovative efforts to improve the health of both patients and populations need to build on advances in technology and informatics. For many surgeries, use of robots can improve the precision and efficiency of operative maneuvers, no matter how skilled and experienced a surgeon may be. Robotic arms never tire and can make much smaller incisions under extreme magnification, thereby reducing recovery time for patients and eliminating surgeon fatigue. Carefully designed and rigorously implemented training programs are necessary to assure that these techniques are made widely available. Similarly, innovation in the field of health informatics makes it possible to analyze complex, variably formatted and enormously large health data repositories to discern patterns, predictors and prognoses that would otherwise remain unknown. The science of using data, information and knowledge to improve human health and health care requires teams that can apply computer science principles, epidemiologic and biostatistical methodologies, and medical science to pressing problems in human health. 

CITRIS Health in China Overview

These two key applications of technology—robotic surgery and informatics—are the focus of a CITRIS Health collaboration with The First Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University (FAH-SYSU). Generous support provided by both FAH-SYSU and the Lingnan Foundation make possible this high-yield collaboration.

The health of individual patients, of communities and of countries requires both innovative discovery and effective training to make these discoveries available to all. CITRIS and the Banatao Institute is committed to developing opportunities to extend and strengthen health care through state-of-the-art technologies across a wide range of specific disciplines.

In 2019 CITRIS received support from the Lingnan Foundation to develop training programs in surgical robotics and health informatics that bring together leading researchers and clinicians in the United States and China to advance global health care outcomes through the application of innovative technological tools. FAH-SYSU, in collaboration with CITRIS, is not only benefiting the respective health systems, but is also advancing health care delivery for patients and providers throughout China, the U.S. and the world. 

Current Project Activities

The FAH-SYSU/CITRIS Surgical Robotics Training Program combines the expertise of U.S. and Chinese surgeons by offering innovative seminars in surgical robotic techniques to participants from both countries. At the same time, a curriculum providing rigorous surgical robotic training for cohorts of surgeons from across China is being developed to assure the dissemination of surgical robotics expertise. This training will be provided at a new state-of-the art FAH-SYSU facility at Nansha to share these techniques more widely.

The CITRIS/FAH-SYSU Health Informatics/Data Science Training Program includes a health informatics fellowship opportunity for pre- and postdoctoral students and early-stage faculty, as well as a web portal, a workflow model library and other options to support global collaboration on phenotype development, design and tools. In addition, webinars will bring together fellows who will learn from one another’s research questions and emerging knowledge.

What’s Next?

Surgeons, health informaticists and digital health researchers will share their expertise through these two venues, focused initially on the two partner countries but evolving to provide global impact. The program will continue to focus on training the next generation of global leaders in health care.

More to Explore

Project Partners


First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University (FAH-SYSU)

The First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, originally known as the Affiliated Hospital of Guangdong Public Institution of Medicine, is an important base for research, medical service, medical education, preventive care and rehabilitation in South China. It is well known for its high quality and excellent service in China and Southeast Asia. For years, it has been recognized as the most reliable hospital in mainland China by Hong Kong residents. Find out more: The First Affiliated Hospital

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UC Davis Health

UC Davis Health is improving lives and transforming health care by providing excellent patient care, conducting groundbreaking research, fostering innovative, interprofessional education, and creating dynamic, productive partnerships with the community.

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UC Berkeley

From a group of academic pioneers in 1868 to the Free Speech Movement in 1964, UC Berkeley is a place where the brightest minds from across the globe come together to explore, ask questions and improve the world. From expeditions to Egypt in the late 1800s to stem cell research and artificial intelligence today, Berkeley has been at the forefront of research throughout its history.

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Lingnan Foundation

The Lingnan Foundation, an American philanthropy, seeks to contribute to the advancement of higher education in South China and thereby promote understanding between Chinese and Americans. Guided by the example of international collaboration embodied in the legacy of Lingnan University (founded in Guangzhou, China, in 1888), the Lingnan Foundation pursues its mission by supporting scholarly exchange, educational innovation, and service to society.