About 20 years ago, Dr. Shashi Seshia a now-retired pediatric neurologist, received a letter from a Chinese pediatrician, Dr. Jiao Fuyong, expressing a desire to come to Canada to learn more about the care of children. That letter started a mutual dream which, on May 22, 2013, became reality.

“Today is a great day,” announced Dr. Seshia to a small gathering which included Dr. Jiao and five other Chinese pediatricians along with Saskatoon Health Region and University of Saskatchewan leaders. “This is the first step in the fulfillment of a 20 year vision of collaboration and that it has occurred in Saskatoon makes me even more proud.”thumbnail_Chinese-Delegation

Representatives from Saskatoon Health Region, College of Medicine, Jiatong University and Shemu County Hospital in China have created a partnership to foster clinical, academic and scholarly collaboration among the groups.

“We are very excited about this partnership,” said Dr. Laurence Givelichian, department head Pediatrics, Saskatoon Health Region and University of Saskatchewan. “It’s the first of its kind. In the past, partnerships with international universities have only focused on different divisions within pediatrics. When Dr. Seshia approached us about this, we knew it was an opportunity that would benefit our entire department and our members, both current and in the future, and we worked hard over recent months to make this moment happen.”

“We are grateful for the vision of Dr. Seshia and his work in making this a reality,” says Jackie Mann, vice-president Integrated Health Services, Saskatoon Health Region. “He went to China on his own last year to meet with this group with the goal of establishing a collaborative relationship. When the Department of Pediatrics asked Saskatoon Health Region to join this partnership, it was an easy decision based on our core values of collaboration and excellence. We look forward to expanding our knowledge and understanding through this opportunity.”

Pediatrician Dr. Bill Bingham, who helped host the delegation, looks forward to the opportunities created by this partnership.“This will eventually allow our residents to see how medicine, in particular pediatrics, is practised elsewhere in the world,” he said. “Sometimes, we become very focused and narrow in our thinking and need to have opportunities to see how things are done in another part of the world. We see this as a very great potential to improve our education of our own residents.”