UCSF-Cuba Research Programme in Health Diplomacy and Medical Education

Investigator: Nancy Burke, PhD
Sponsor: Atlantic Philanthropies

Location(s): Cuba


The UCSF Cuba Program in Health Diplomacy, supported by Atlantic Philanthropies, is run by Nancy Burke, PhD. The grant has supported the development of collaborative research projects as well as educational enrichment and student projects. These include:

Development of a one-day workshop on clinical research for orthopaedic surgeons. Dr. Ted Miclau and colleagues provided this workshop to over 100 surgeons in Havana in June, 2010 and will be continuing the course this year in Cuba and in other countries in Latin America. This work has been supported by the Osteosynthesis and Trauma Care Foundation in addition to the UCSF Cuba program.

A group of UCSF faculty has worked to facilitate the entry into U.S. medical practice of American students currently training at the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) near Havana. In particular, this program focuses on career decision-making components and performance expectations of medical residencies in the U.S. such as clinical problem-solving, oral case presentation, and patient interviewing. Twelve American students at ELAM took part in a two-day workshop over the summer of 2010 at UCSF, including experiencing standardized patient exercises, meeting with UCSF medical students, and shadowing clinical care at SFGH. A follow-up workshop is scheduled for late 2011 in Havana; the UCSF-based workshop will be repeated and expanded in summer 2011.

Professors Regina Otero-Sabogal and Nancy Burke are leading a collaboration with Cuban peers entitled Manéjate a Ti Mismo, which focuses on best practices and proven interventions on chronic disease. The bi-national team is undertaking a pilot project on patient self-management of diabetes. The team leaders recently met in Havana for an intensive week-long workshop at the Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de la Habana (UCM-H), Girón campus that engaged faculty and students at the University in the project. This workshop will be repeated at another UCM-H campus in late 2011.

GHS Clinical Scholar Melissa Burroughs Pena spent several weeks in Cuba working with faculty at the Cardiovascular Institute (Department of Preventive Cardiology) and will be assisting in data analysis on a project measuring cardiovascular risk factors and outcomes in Havana.

The grant co-sponsored a conference at UC Berkeley called In Sickness and in Health that featured leading academic and policy experts on health in Cuba, including two scholars from the island, and drew over 80 faculty, students, and members of the public. The conference represents one of many project activities made possible through collaboration with the UC Cuba multi-campus academic initiative.

The grant has awarded the first ever health-focused mini grant to Kendra Johnson, UCSF MS2 and former GHS Framework student. Kendra will work to lay the foundations for a future medical rotation in Cuba focusing on chronic disease. Additional student activities are currently in development.