Princeton BMC Strengthens International Ties with Training Program for Chinese Cardiologists

Princeton Baptist Medical Center’s reputation as a leader in cardiac care has received international recognition with a new program to train visiting Chinese cardiologists. In 2012 the hospital entered into an association with the Chinese Ministry of Health to host interventional cardiologists for a four-month training experience under the supervision of the physicians with Cardiology P.C., the cardiology practice at Princeton.

The InnoMed Sino-US Advanced Cardiovascular Specialist Training Project was established to enhance medical specialization in China, promote international communication in the public health domain and develop the excellence of Chinese interventional cardiologists. The Beijing Weirenweiye (BWW) International Medicine Research Center is an independent branch of the Ministry of Health, People’s Republic of China. BWW has set up the training project in partnership with InnoMed Scientific, a cardiovascular medical device company in Shanghai. Three times a year, the project will send four cardiologists to Birmingham to observe state-of-the-art interventional cardiovascular procedures in research and practice at Princeton.

This is not the first occasion that Princeton has hosted visiting Chinese physicians. As a result of contacts made by Princeton cardiologist Farrell O. Mendelsohn, M.D., in China, the hospital began welcoming cardiologists from that country approximately four years ago. “We started small with one or two physicians every six months. The people who came had a positive experience and went back and told their colleagues. We started getting inquiries from other cardiologists wanting to know how they could get involved. The Ministry of Health learned of the program and contacted us about increasing the scope and having the Chinese Ministry take over the sponsorship and selection process to make it an officially-sanctioned program by the Chinese government,” said Mendelsohn.

The Princeton training project is one of only three programs in the U.S. sanctioned by the Chinese Ministry of Health. Other programs are located at Harvard’s School of Public Health and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Four physicians—Dr. Rui Jing, Dr. Zheng Ji, Dr. Haifeng Liang and Dr. Bin Liu—arrived in Birmingham in late August.

“They are highly-skilled practicing cardiologists and some are heads of their departments. All of the visiting Chinese doctors have worked with our interventional cardiologists here at Princeton who have exquisite skills and are interested in teaching and sharing their knowledge. The whole Princeton family has embraced the program to make a fantastic experience for these Chinese guests,” said Mendelsohn.

As part of their training, the visitors observe the practice of cardiology in an office setting, make rounds with Princeton cardiologists and attend weekly teaching sessions.“They are able to see the full range of cardiovascular procedures we do, both on the heart and on the carotid and peripheral vascular system and they are involved in the many different research projects that we are involved in such as our renal sympathetic denervation program which is a new study for high blood pressure control. They are involved in the exciting new program in stem cell therapy where we are doing injections of the heart tissue with agents designed to grow new vessels and heart muscle,” said Mendelsohn.

To commemorate their time at Princeton, the visiting physicians were presented with traditional white physicians’ coats by Dr. Michael Wilensky, president of the Princeton Baptist Medical Staff, in a ceremony held October 18 at Shaia’s, a men’s clothing retailer located in Homewood.  The ceremonial presentation of white coats to students completing medical studies is a common practice at medical schools throughout the U.S. The coats, part of the Medical Heritage Apparel line offered through Shaia’s, were custom-tailored and embroidered with the Princeton logo.


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