Texas Tech University System to Partner With China University

September 14, 2006
CONTACT: Suzanna Cisneros Martinez, suzanna.martinez@ttuhsc.edu
(806) 743-2143
Sally Logue Post, sallypost@ttu.edu, (806) 742-2136

LUBBOCK –The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine and Texas Tech University are partnering with the College of Medicine at Lanzhou University in Lanzhou, China, to foster cooperative teaching opportunities between the two countries.

Initial efforts of this partnership will be directed toward the exchange of information regarding the treatment of cancer which will ultimately involve the UMC Southwest Cancer Treatment and Research Center. Members of medical staffs from TTUHSC and Lanzhou University will have the opportunity to review current techniques used in cancer management at each facility.

This partnership within the Texas Tech University System includes the TTUHSC School of Medicine and the Texas Tech College of Arts and Sciences in order to develop new teaching programs with medical physics. Jane Winer, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said this is a unique partnership. “This is a wonderful addition to our teaching role in the Lubbock community,” Winer said.

With only about 3,000 medical physicists, the United States is suffering from a shortage. The immediate need is for approximately 250 to 300 new medical physicists per year, but only 50 to 60 are being trained and educated. A recent survey by the Health Physics Society shows that present demand for radiation safety professionals is at approximately 130 percent of supply.

Bernhard T. Mittemeyer, M.D., interim president of the TTTUHSC, said in the long-run, patients will benefit from this collaborative effort.

“Anytime we can anticipate the need for health care professionals and take steps to provide the most qualified training and access to national and international experts, in this case medical physicists, patients will definitely benefit,” Mittemeyer said. “Our appreciation goes out to everyone involved including Barbara Pence, Ph.D., associate dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and Jon Vordermark, M.D., professor of surgery and pediatrics in the Department of Urology.”

Todd Cepica, PT, administrative director at the UMC Southwest Cancer Treatment and Research Center, said the center welcomes a program such as this. “As an academic cancer center committed to excellence, we are proud to support endeavors which improve the future of cancer care.”

TTU’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources also will serve as a regular contributor to the project. Marvin Cepica, Ph.D., dean of the college, supports the program via an earlier agreement, co-authored by Vivien Allen, Ph.D., Horn Professor in the CASNR, signed two years ago by TTU and Lanzhou University. “The previous relationship has been tremendously successful,” said Cepica. “Institutions that form partnerships such as this will see their stature and effectiveness rise in the future.”

The current agreement is the result of the efforts by Yumin Li, M.D., chairman and professor of surgery at Lanzhou University College of Medicine, and William Kubricht, chief of clinical physics in the Division of Radiation Oncology at the UMC Southwest Cancer Treatment and Research Center.