June 30, 2011

VEI, Russia university to collaborate

Featured Image

Sergey Yashin, M.D., Ph.D., of Russia’s St. Petersburg State I.P. Pavlov Medical University, signs collaboration documents with Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., right, and Paul Sternberg Jr., M.D. Also present were, from left, Pavlov Medical University’s Edwin Zvartau, M.D., and Yuri Astakhov, M.D., Ph.D., and Vanderbilt’s John Penn, Ph.D., Edward Cherney, M.D., and Keith Churchwell, M.D. (Photo by Anne Rayner)

VEI, Russia university to collaborate

The Vanderbilt Eye Institute has signed an agreement with Russia’s St. Petersburg State I.P. Pavlov Medical University that will allow collaboration between the two entities on clinical and basic science research efforts.

Since 2002, the VEI has worked with Pavlov’s Department of Ophthalmology through a relationship with Edward Cherney, M.D., a retina specialist at VEI.

“This opens the dialogue for future partnerships,” said Cherney, associate professor of Clinical Ophthalmology. “We are hoping to expand the agreement to other medical specialties as the interest grows.

“This opportunity will enhance Vanderbilt’s reputation with international relations, advance our medical knowledge and create an expansive cultural and clinical exchange,” he said.

Pavlov, well known for its clinical research, was founded in 1897 as St. Petersburg Women’s Medical Institute, the first Russian medical school for women. The university has several areas of research including the Scientific Research Institute of Cardio-Vascular Pathology, the Scientific Research Institute of Pulmonology, the Scientific Research Institute of Nephrology, the Scientific Research Institute of Pharmacology and the Scientific Research Institute of Bone Marrow Transplantation.

“This agreement is an exciting next step in our relationship with Pavlov Medical University,” said Paul Sternberg Jr., M.D., chair of VEI and associate dean for Clinical Affairs at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

“I have had the good fortune to travel to St. Petersburg and work with the ophthalmologists there, as well as host some of their physicians at Vanderbilt. There is a wonderful sense of mutual respect that will lead to meaningful collaborations in research and teaching.”

According to the Memorandum of Understanding, future goals of the partnership are to:

• Continue the collaborations initiated by Cherney and GlazMed International with Pavlov and assist in the further development of medical pathways, preferred practice patterns and institutional review process in Russia;

• Establish formal mechanisms for Vanderbilt University School of Medicine faculty to work and conduct research at Pavlov Medical University geared toward the possibility of future rotations for Vanderbilt faculty, staff, house staff and medical students at Pavlov; and

• Create the needed structure to facilitate formal exchanges for Pavlov staff/students to spend time at Vanderbilt.

GlazMed is an international, non-profit organization that leads medical and cultural exchanges between the United States and Russia to advance medical research, education, treatment and patient care. Cherney said the group was instrumental in helping Russia organize the Inter-regional Association of Ophthalmologists, the first and only nonprofit, nongovernmental, medical association in Russia dedicated to education and standardization of medical care.

It is also the umbrella organization for the White Nights Congress of Ophthalmology, the largest annual medical meeting in Eastern Europe.

Members from Pavlov joined Cherney, Sternberg and Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, for the official document signing.

The representatives from Pavlov included Sergei Yashin, M.D., Ph.D., cardiologist and acting Chancellor; Yuri Astakhov, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology; Natalia Novgorodova, M.D., Ph.D., head of External Relations and Development and Edwin Zvartau, M.D., Ph.D., chairman, Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Evidence Based Medicine.