Lifespan, The Warren Alpert Medical School send message of support to academic medical center partner Wuhan Union Hospital

Lifespan and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University have actively collaborated with Wuhan Union Hospital on research projects since 2016, with the goal of fostering research and cultural awareness. Leaders of Lifespan and The Warren Alpert Medical School have reached out to pledge support to senior medical faculty colleagues at Union Hospital in Wuhan, Hubei Province, People’s Republic of China, who have been working night and day with very limited medical resources to combat novel coronavirus (COVID-19) since the outbreak began.

“We know we cannot comprehend or even appreciate the challenges and hardship you all must be going through at this time. We want you to know that we treasure our relationship and academic collaboration with you and your great institutions and hospital,” reads the letter to Wuhan Union Hospital President Yu Hu, M.D., and senior team members and Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST). The joint letter is signed by members of the Wuhan – Brown program and Lifespan and Brown senior faculty.

The academic program of Wuhan Union Hospital, HUST’s Tongji Medical College, Lifespan, and The Warren Alpert Medical School started in 2016. Over the years faculty visits from Providence to Wuhan and Wuhan to Providence have included lectures, workshops, and presentations at grand rounds and international conferences, and joint work on research projects, manuscripts, and book chapters. Lifespan came together with HUST and Wuhan Union Hospital in 2018, establishing an exchange program centered around cardiovascular research and medical knowledge in cardiology, echocardiography and cardiovascular surgery. The Warren Alpert Medical School joined the program in 2019, and last June, Brown and Lifespan began hosting the first Wuhan echocardiology research fellow with plans to host another.

“This continues to be a truly inspirational collaboration. Our Wuhan partners are exceptional, and our thoughts and prayers go out to them, their families and community,” said Philip Haines, M.D., associate director of echocardiography at Rhode Island Hospital, who together with Frank Sellke, M.D., chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Rhode Island and the Miriam hospitals, founded and directs the program.

The joint initiative evolved from a conversation Dr. Haines had with mentor Tao Wang, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania, who studied at Tongji Medical College. After arriving in R.I. following his fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, Haines said he had a vision of expanding the cardiovascular research collaborations of The Warren Alpert Medical School and the Lifespan hospitals and its major teaching affiliates.