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Jefferson City graduate honored by China

A local alumnus has received the highest honor awarded to a foreign expert by the People’s Republic of China.

Dr. Jerome Belinson, a 1961 graduate of Jefferson City High School, received the prestigious Friendship Award in September from Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang during the National Day celebrations in Beijing.

The Friendship Award, established in 1991, is China’s highest award given to a foreign expert who has made outstanding contributions to China’s economic and social progress.

Belinson is professor of surgery in Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine and founding director of Preventive Oncology International Inc.

For more than 14 years, Belinson has worked to bring gynecologic cancer screening integrated with clinical trials to rural China, an area of the world with a high prevalence of female cancers. Through his efforts, and the work of his Preventive Oncology International colleagues, nearly 40,000 women who participated in the studies received screening for cervical cancer, often for the only time in their lives.

Belinson and his team have been recognized for their careful adherence to human values and the proper conduct of studies involving human subjects in the Third World.

His initial study, “The Shanxi Province Cervical Cancer Screening Study,” continues to serve as a model for study design in epidemiology courses around the world. Additional studies also have been completed, providing data on self-sampling technologies, a better understanding of false negative and false positive visual screening and diagnostic tests, and the epidemiology of the HPV virus in China.

In addition to the multiple scientific contributions, the studies have also resulted in the first approval of liquid-based cytology and HPV testing in China, numerous

educational sessions and international exchanges for Chinese physicians.

The Chinese collaborators who began their work with Belinson now have established a cervical cancer consortium throughout China, and they have developed collaborations between Chinese researchers and the World Health Organization and the Gates Foundation.

In addition to expanding his work into other regions of China and exploring preventive strategies for other types of cancers, Belinson is currently initiating large projects in the Peruvian jungle. He will also be bringing his research skills back to northeast Ohio for a project in East Cleveland designed to study cancer prevention strategies in underserved populations.

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