CITRIS/FAH-SYSU Surgical Robotics and Health Informatics/Data Science Collaboration

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The health of individual patients, of communities and of countries requires both innovative discovery and effective training to make these discoveries available to all. CITRIS and the Banatao Institute is committed to developing opportunities to extend and strengthen health care through state-of-the-art technologies across a wide range of specific disciplines.

In 2019 CITRIS received support from the Lingnan Foundation to develop training programs in surgical robotics and health informatics that bring together leading researchers and clinicians in the United States and China to advance global health care outcomes through the application of innovative technological tools. Advanced training by CITRIS and First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University (FAH-SYSU) teams is not only benefiting the respective health systems, but is also advancing health care delivery for patients and providers throughout China, the U.S. and the world. 

CITRIS Health Collaborations in China 

Surgical robotics and health informatics/data science are two key applications of health technology that form the basis of a collaboration between the First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University and the University of California through CITRIS. 

For many surgeries, use of robots can improve the precision and efficiency of operative maneuvers, no matter how skilled and experienced a surgeon may be. Robotic arms never tire and can make much smaller incisions under extreme magnification, thereby reducing recovery time for patients and eliminating surgeon fatigue. Carefully designed and rigorously implemented training programs are necessary to assure that these techniques are made widely available.

Similarly, innovation in the field of health informatics makes it possible to analyze complex, variably formatted and enormously large health data repositories to discern patterns, predictors and prognoses that would otherwise remain unknown. The science of using data, information and knowledge to improve human health and health care requires teams that can apply computer science principles, epidemiologic and biostatistical methodologies, and medical science to pressing problems in human health. 

Current Activities 

The CITRIS/FAH-SYSU Surgical Robotics Training Program combines the expertise of U.S. and Chinese surgeons by offering seminars in surgical robotic techniques to participants from both countries. At the same time, a curriculum providing rigorous surgical robotic training for cohorts of surgeons from across China is being developed to assure the dissemination of surgical robotics expertise. This training will be provided at a new state-of-the art FAH-SYSU facility at Nansha to share these techniques more widely. 

The CITRIS/FAH-SYSU Health Informatics/Data Science Training Program includes a health informatics fellowship opportunity for pre- and postdoctoral students and early-stage faculty, as well as a web portal, a workflow model library and other options to support global collaboration on phenotype development, design and tools. In addition, webinars will bring together fellows who will learn from one another’s research questions and emerging knowledge.

What’s Next? 

Surgeons, health informaticists and digital health researchers will share their expertise through these two venues, focused initially on the two partner countries but evolving to provide global impact. The program will continue to focus on training the next generation of global leaders in health care.


  • UC Berkeley
  • UC Davis Health 
  • The First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University (FAH-SYSU)


  • Lingnan Foundation


  • David Lindeman, Director of CITRIS Health, UC Berkeley
  • Bahareh Nejad, Professor and Director of Surgical Robotics, UC Davis Health
  • Hung Ho, Earl F. Wolfman Jr. MD & Lois J. Wolfman Endowed Professor in Surgery, UC Davis Health
  • Nick Anderson, Cardiff Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Chief of the Division of Health Informatics in the Department of Public Health Sciences, UC Davis School of Medicine
  • Gale Berkowitz, Associate Director of CITRIS Health, UC Berkeley
  • Jill Joseph, Professor Emerita, UC Davis Health, and Special Advisor, CITRIS
  • Jolie Lam, Surgical Robotics and Digital Health Program Manager, CITRIS Health, UC Berkeley


Please contact Jolie Lam, MBA, Ph.D., surgical robotics and digital health program manager at CITRIS Health, at