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U.S. and Cuban pediatricians to meet for first time since normalization in Havana

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Author David Kelly | Publish Date February 1, 2016

For the first time since the U.S. normalized relations with Cuba, a delegation of pediatricians co-led by Dr. Stephen Berman of Children’s Hospital Colorado and the Colorado School of Public Health, will travel to Havana to establish relationships with local physicians and collaborate on ways to improve child health in both countries.

The historic meeting, which takes place from February 4-6, will allow the pediatricians to share progress made in the areas of newborn care, early childhood development and chronic health conditions in children. The American doctors will specifically highlight advances in early brain development and new approaches in promoting responsive parenting.  And their Cuban counterparts will discuss their success in community-based primary care and decreasing the incidence of premature births.

"I am honored to co-lead this delegation of American doctors with Dr. James Perrin of Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital,” said Berman, director of the Center for Global Health at the Colorado School of Public Health in partnership with Children’s Colorado. “The delegation of U.S. pediatricians is eager to hear from our Cuban counterparts about the progress they have made toward improving child health during this long period of isolation. We also hope to begin an ongoing collaboration while creating cross-national partnerships to improve the health of children in both of our countries.”

Berman has extensive experience in Cuba and counts many top pediatricians there as friends. When President Obama normalized relations with Cuba, Dr. Berman immediately contacted his colleagues there and set up this meeting – the first of its kind.

“As Cubans gain access to new medications and technology, training will become very important,” Berman said. “We would like to eventually establish an exchange program so Cuban doctors can come and train here at Children’s Colorado and vice versa.”

The trip is sponsored jointly by the Cuban Pediatric Society (CPS), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Children’s Colorado, and the Center for Global Health at the Colorado School of Public Health at CU Anschutz.

Both Drs. Berman and Perrin are past presidents of the AAP. The Cuban delegation will be headed by the past and current president of the Cuban Pediatric Society, Fernando Dominquez, MD and Gladys Abreu, MD respectively.

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