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EXCELLENCE IN HEALTH CARE: Serving Latin American patients.

Major medical centers along the Eastern Seaboard are dedicated to serving the needs of patients from Latin America and the Caribbean. From Boston to Miami -- and at many institutions in between -- Latin patients can find the latest in medical technology, experienced physicians and personalized service.

For children suffering from congenital heart problems, young couples having difficulty in conceiving a baby, and older adults who need specialized cancer care, a trip to a well-established U.S. health care facility can provide assistance that may not be readily available in their home countries.

In addition to diagnostic and treatment services, many U.S. facilities provide second opinions on potentially serious medical conditions and procedures. Executive physicals -- offered by many institutions -- are a major attraction for traveling executives and professionals, who often combine a medical checkup with a business trip.

Here are several U.S. programs that deliver state-of-the-art health care to Latin patients:

PARTNERS INTERNATIONAL PROGRAM

In 1994, the two largest teaching hospitals of Harvard Medical School -- the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Brigham and Women's Hospital -- formed a partnership to better serve the health needs of people in Boston. Today, through the Partners International Program, the medical expertise of these renowned hospitals is available to patients from Latin America and the Caribbean.

"Our hospitals are consistently ranked among the top 10 in the United States, and we have enormous capabilities in every medical and surgical specialty and subspecialty," says Dr. Gilbert Mudge, a cardiologist and chairman of the international committee at Brigham and Women's Hospital. "Our expertise extends to every area of clinical care and clinical research."

"Our hospitals' approach to patient care emphasizes the personal touch," says Dr. Timothy Guiney, cardiologist and medical director of the International Patient Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. "We believe in hands-on care in a very technological world. We have built strong associations with our many international patients over the years."

The Partners hospitals have the largest combined cardiovascular program in the United States, as well as the largest oncology program through a joint venture with Harvard's Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Other centers of excellence include neurology, neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery and women's health. Massachusetts General Hospital for Children is dedicated to serving young people from all over the world with difficult medical problems.

Latin American patients can obtain assistance in scheduling appointments and making travel arrangements through the International Office at each hospital. "We can arrange for reception and transportation upon arrival at and departure from Boston's Logan Airport, as well as transportation to the first medical appointment," says Dr. Mudge. Partners can arrange for conveniently located lodging and provide Spanish and Portuguese interpreters upon request.

For more information, contact Partners International Program: Tel. 001-617-724-6420; fax 001-617-724-3801; e-mail: partnersinternational@partners.org.

MOUNT SINAI COMPREHENSIVE CANCER CENTER

The Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center in Miami Beach provides advanced diagnostic imaging, as well as medical, surgical, neurological, gynecological and radiation oncology. The center features a multidisciplinary pain management service, patient resource center, the Comprehensive Breast Center, laboratories and a pharmacy. Medical services are augmented by psychosocial, nutritional and other support services for patients and their families.

The cancer center also provides blood stem cell transplantation, an outpatient treatment that enables patients in the advanced stages of cancer to have extremely high doses of chemotherapy.

Because research is an important factor in cancer treatment and prevention, a major initiative is available at the Comprehensive Cancer Center. The Community Clinical Oncology Program, made possible through a grant from the National Cancer Institute, examines the effectiveness of individual drugs or combination of drug therapies, radiation therapy, surgery and immune therapies.

For more information or to make an appointment please call 305-674-2774 or visit the center's website at www.msmc.com.

MIAMI MEDICAL ALLIANCE

Hundreds of Latin American patients have been helped by the Miami Medical Alliance -- an organization whose mission has broadened from one of creating an awareness that Miami is a destination of medical excellence to that of assisting patients get the help they need, one-on-one.

"As we go into our third year of operation, we are reaching the next level, focusing on helping tertiary patients who are in the more advanced stages of cancer or cardiac problems, or who require the more innovative, more complicated surgeries," says Victoria Brewer-Anderson, executive director.

The alliance, also known as Salud Miami (Spanish) and Saude Miami (Portuguese), is a consortium of nine major hospitals that serve international patients. The alliance partners with hotels, airlines, travel agents and the medical community to offer first-class medical care.

Increasingly, the Internet plays a key role. Salud Miami's web site now offers content updated weekly, reporting on the latest advances in health care, connecting users to participating hospitals, and offering links to hotel and travel partners.

Many patients hear about Salud Miami through their local news media. More than eight groups of Latin American health and lifestyle journalists have come to tour the participating hospitals under Brewer-Anderson's direction. Participating hospitals include:

* Aventura Hospital and Medical Center.

* Baptist Hospital of Miami.

* Cedars Medical Center.

* Mercy Hospital.

* Miami Children's Hospital.

* Miami Heart Institute.

* Mount Sinai Medical Center.

* South Miami Hospital.

* The University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center.
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Publication:Latin Trade
Date:Nov 1, 2000
Words:860
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