Day Four: China-Japan Friendship Hospital

China-Japan Exterior

AuditoriumOur final day in Beijing took us to China-Japan Friendship Hospital, where we had the largest audience so far. Our hosts had invited colleagues from some other hospitals to join, and the large auditorium was fairly full.

Before the lectures, we had the opportunity to walk through the hospital’s garden courtyard, which we were told is the only one of its kind among the hospitals in Beijing. It reminded me of several places on our various Mayo Clinic campuses.

Garden Courtyard

We also met with the hospital leaders and had a good discussion, in the hospital’s newly renovated and restored boardroom, and then did the traditional exchange of gifts.

MeetingGift Exchange

Then it was on to the presentations and an extended Q&A session, facilitated by our excellent interpreters, Natalia (left) and Stephanie (right):


As I mentioned previously, Kent’s book has sold more than 350,000 copies in China. After the program the book-signing line extended across the front of the auditorium:

Book-signing lineup

At our traditional formal dinner, Stephanie encouraged me to try a dish which she said was quite tasty, but that I would not want to eat if I knew what it was:


It was in fact good (especially with cream and honey), but then I asked her to tell me what it was:

While Stephanie will be continuing as an interpreter for a couple additional stops, this was Natalia’s last day with us. Friday is a travel day, and another interpreter will join us in Chengde.

Many people have contributed to make this tour possible, but without our interpreters it would be very close to meaningless. So we said goodbye to Natalia with our thanks for her good work:


Day Three: Beijing Tsinghua Changgung Hospital and the Chinese Table

I will start and end this post with some culinary observations: As I went through the breakfast buffet at the hotel I spotted something familiar and delightful:


I have fond memories of these sweet oranges, which I now know grow in the northern part of China, and which Americans call “Mandarin” oranges. One of my favorite treats was when Mom made Mandarin Orange Jell-O. I rarely got to eat the oranges by themselves, but on occasion I would sneak a small can. Seeing a self-serve bowl in the buffet with this delicacy was a real treat.

BTCH ExteriorOur lecture tour’s second “station” as our hosts call it was a new hospital in Beijing, which has been in operation for less than two years. Beijing Tsinghua Changgung Hospital (BTCH) is located in one of the most densely populated areas of Beijing; more than 700,000 people live within three subway stops of the hospital.

IMG_0421BTCH was created through a gift from a wealthy Taiwanese benefactor who wanted to bring an advanced management model for hospitals from Taiwan’s Chang Gung Memorial Hospital to mainland China.

While we didn’t get to tour the hospital, the conference facility was state-of-the-art, and we had a great audience that asked some very perceptive questions in our extended discussion.

It also has been interesting to learn of connections these hospitals already have with Mayo Clinic. For example, in our conversation with leaders before the lectures we learned that Dr. Win Shen, who is the Chair of Cardiology at Mayo Clinic in Arizona (and with whom I worked occasionally on news releases when he was in Rochester back in my media relations days), also has a formal role with BTCH that brings him here twice a year.

The formal Chinese Dinner has been a fascinating culinary and social experience. After both of our afternoon programs so far we have gone with hospital leaders and our hosts to dinners in local restaurants where the variety (and amount) of food has been amazing.

Formal Dinner TableEach evening we come into a room with a round table. Dr. Seltman and I typically are on either side of the hospital president (with our interpreters also nearby) and then everyone else has an assigned seat as well. Even with the assigned seating, however, everyone seems to spend a good amount of time standing, as participants move around the table to toast each other.

The inner ring of the table is a motorized glass conveyor that brings an endless supply of amazingly various food, as you see in the Tweet below:

One of the dishes at this meal was squid jellyfish:


In my three days in China I have developed some dexterity with chopsticks, and have tried most of the dishes (at least the gluten-free ones) that have passed in front of me.

And while it might not be the most flattering, I’m pretty proud of this photo, a left-handed selfie while I use chopsticks to taste squid jellyfish:

Squid Selfie

It doesn’t taste like chicken.


Day Two: Peking University Third Hospital

On Tuesday Kent Seltman and I gave our first of the nine lectures we will be giving on our two-week tour, as we visited Peking University Third Hospital, which is something of a destination medical center for China:

Peking University Third Hospital Exterior

Our hosts were exceedingly gracious and the audience for our afternoon lecture was quite attentive:


One thing that made the presentation easier than I had expected was that I was able to work from my English slides, while the Chinese versions were on either side of the podium:

Kent Speaking

It also helped that we had simultaneous translation of our presentations by two excellent interpreters, who alternated every 15 minutes. I had not been sure whether we would have simultaneous translation with the audience wearing headsets (as at the United Nations) or whether we would speak a paragraph and wait for it to be translated (as in the clip below). More on our interpreters in a future post.

The day got off to a fun start as well, because I was able to watch Game 5 of the NBA Finals at 9 a.m. on CCTV in my hotel room. The tweet below has a sampler of what I saw:

While I was rooting for the Warriors, it’s OK that they lost this one because it means I’ll likely get to watch Game 6 Friday morning before we leave for our Saturday event in Chengde.

Arriving in Beijing

I’m up early (5 a.m.) Monday morning and looking forward to a day of sightseeing in Beijing before our tour of visiting and speaking to Chinese hospitals starts tomorrow.

This is my first trip to China, and it already has led to several other “firsts” in my experience.

While I have previously been met at the airport by someone with a sign with my name on it to make connections with a driver, those signs have always been either handwritten or on an iPad display. This typeset and framed version was definitely a step up (click any photos for larger view):

Charlie and Wenfeng

My greeters, who also will be my guides today and for the rest of the trip, also presented me with an unprecedented arrival gift:

Sign and Flowers

I don’t think anyone has given me flowers before…much less upon arriving at an airport.

After about a one-hour drive to our hotel, which will be our base for the next four nights as well, the three of us had dinner during which I got expert chopsticks advice from Wenfeng.

Then we went out for an evening walk to the Olympic Park. We saw the Aquatics Center where Michael Phelps won his record 8 gold medals:

Acquatic CenterThe exterior changes colors every few seconds, which is beautiful and amazing…until you see the olympic stadium, a.k.a. The Bird’s Nest:

Bird's Nest

The entire end of the stadium is a massive LED display. And while I’m no stranger to having my image on a Jumbotron, this one makes Times Square look like a microtron.

This enabled me to provide the ultimate example of a backlit photo, which Charlie’s smart phone light was powerless to correct:

Ultimate Backlighting

Finally, we took a walk to the base of an observation tower which, when viewed from above, is in the shape of the Olympic rings. Hopefully we can get a view from the top (about 40 stories up) today:

Olympic Observation Tower

Looking forward to exploring with Charlie and Wenfeng today!