Pitt Physician Receives Highest Honor from Chinese Government

By: Courtney Caprara


Timothy Billiar, M.D., George Vance Foster Professor and chair in the Department of Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and associate medical director, UPMC International, recently traveled to Beijing to receive the Friendship Award, the highest recognition bestowed by the People’s Republic of China to foreign experts who have made outstanding contributions to the country’s economic and social progress.

Dr. Billiar was nominated by Central South University in Changsha, Hunan, China for his work in developing student and physician exchange programs, and for his role in developing a Chinese medical student research training program at the Pitt School of Medicine.

“Our collaboration with colleagues in China has been of great mutual benefit as we work to advance medical science,” Dr. Billiar said. “I am truly honored to receive this recognition from the Chinese government.”

Every year, 50 foreign experts are selected for the Friendship Award. This year, recipients came from 18 foreign countries and included experts in the fields of industry, science and technology, medicine, agriculture, energy, environmental protection and education.

In addition to Pitt’s academic partnerships, UPMC International currently works with several partners in China to provide world-class care close to patients’ homes, including second-opinion telepathology services for KingMed Diagnostics, operational support for Xiangya International Medical Center in Changsha, and development of oncology services on Hainan Island in collaboration with  First Chengmei Medical Industry Group.