By: Ashmar Mandou
Officials from the Cuban Ministry of Health met with health professionals in the Englewood and Back of the Yard communities last week. The visit marked the launch of a new partnership, funded by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to the University of Illinois Cancer Center, focused on the mutual exchange of knowledge and ideas on providing health care in under-resourced communities with the aim of improving community-based health care in both countries. The initial visit focused on maternal and infant health and cancer screening and prevention. Sonia Maria Gonzalez Vega, chief of primary health for the Camaguey municipality, Jose Armando Arronte Villamarin, chief of primary health for Las Tunas province, and Carlos Calvis Cabrera, international health brigade coordinator from the Cuban Ministry of Health visited the Mile Square Health Center, the Greater Englewood Community Development Corporation, and the Mile Square Health Center in Back of the Yards. Upon the visitation, the Cuban Delegates imparted their expertise on delivering preventive health and improving the health of patients living in high-poverty, underserved communities. “The Cuban health system does preventive health very, very well, and they do it without a lot of money,” said Robert Winn, associate vice chancellor of community based practice at UI Health and director at the University of Illinois Cancer Center. After a few initial meetings in Chicago and Cuba, the Cuban team of physicians and health officials will spend 18 months at the Englewood and Back of the Yards clinics observing and advising.