International Medicine Program launches with Chinese outreach

October 20, 2014 | by Darrin Joy

International Medicine Program Our International Medicine Program is extending our expertise to patients abroad.

City of Hope is extending the reach of its lifesaving mission well beyond U.S. borders. To that end, three distinguished City of Hope leaders visited China earlier this year to lay the foundation for the institution's new International Medicine Program.

The program is part of City of Hope's strategic efforts to grow its clinical programs and find innovative ways to expand access to its high-quality care to patients worldwide. The program is designed to attract and support international patients coming to City of Hope for care, with the initial focus on China.

Outreach abroad and locally

The trio of City of Hope ambassadors — Steven Rosen, M.D., provost, chief scientific officer, director of Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope and director of the comprehensive cancer center; Yuman Fong, M.D., chair of the Department of Surgery and director of the International Medicine Program; and David Horne, Ph.D., vice provost and associate director of Beckman Research Institute — journeyed to major Chinese research and treatment institutions to build relationships with physicians and researchers and educate them about the institution's cancer expertise.

“Through our diversity and inclusion initiatives, we’ve been working hard over the past several years to build the infrastructure that will support non-English speaking patients,” said Stephanie Neuvirth, chief human resources and diversity officer at City of Hope. The recent City of Hope Chinese-language website and a Latino outreach strategy were among the first steps taken.

“Now, we’re taking it further,” Neuvirth said. The new program currently is focused on raising awareness among the Chinese-speaking population, both locally and abroad, about five treatment programs: gynecologic and urologic (including prostate and ovarian) cancers, breast cancer, lung cancer, gastrointestinal (including liver) cancers, and hematology and bone marrow transplantation.

Outreach efforts, which include the recent China visit as well as participation in local community events, diversity activities and the Center of Community Alliance for Research & Education, focus on promoting four levels of clinical care:

  • Remote secondary review — City of Hope physicians review slides or medical charts sent by clinicians abroad.
  • In-person second opinion services as outpatient — a patient visits City of Hope for a second opinion only, receiving further care in home country.
  • In-person care for established visitor — a patient with family members or a home near City of Hope seeks full treatment here.
  • In-person care — an international patient comes to City of Hope for a full course of treatment based on his or her needs.
Launched in September, with City of Hope’s strength to meet culturally specific needs of the international Chinese community, the program already has several patients from China benefiting from City of Hope's expertise and uniquely patient-centered care.

Extending care and opportunities

“As we continue to grow the International Medicine Program, we’ll apply what we learn and expand it to all global patient populations that need our care,” Fong said.

Neuvirth also noted that the program goes beyond clinical care. “This will grow our patient population, but it also offers opportunities in other areas,” she said. Our clinical studies may benefit from the added diversity in patient populations, and philanthropic opportunities may grow from the relationships we build, bringing in financial support from afar.

“The International Medicine Program promises to open a number of doors that will help ensure City of Hope’s success,” Neuvirth said. “More important, it will help us serve more patients who need the kind of expertise that only we can offer. That’s the real objective.”

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Learn more about becoming a patient or getting a second opinion by visiting our website or by calling 800-826-HOPE (4673). City of Hope staff will explain what's required for a consult at City of Hope and help you determine, before you come in, whether or not your insurance will pay for the appointment.

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