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president julio frenk

University President Julio Frenk during his keynote session on
health systems in a globalized world

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Global health leaders face a complex set of issues as knowledge, people, investments, and technology move across borders, according to University of Miami President Julio Frenk, MD. "No one country, not even the most powerful, can deal with global health risks like epidemics, climate change, and the trade in harmful products," said Frenk in his keynote presentation at the School of Business' fifth annual Business of Health Care Conference on March 21. "What happens anywhere in the world affects everyone else."

More than 700 health care professionals, executives, advisors, faculty and students attended the sold-out conference, presented by Florida Blue, whose theme was "Going Global."  

Gene Anderson, dean of the School of Business, welcomed the attendees, adding, "Our goal is to become the business school of the Americas and help continue Miami's rapid rise as a global center for research and education."

Former U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey was among more than a dozen leaders in the private and non-profit sectors from as far away as Chile and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who gathered to discuss the fast-changing landscape of global health, emerging investment opportunities and the development of innovative models and practices.

international finance m&a and joint ventures panel

Sen. Bob Kerrey moderated a panel focusing on international
finance, M&A, and joint ventures

"Health care professionals in the United States can learn a great deal from developing countries about deploying technology and providing preventive care in low-cost settings," said Steven G. Ullmann, chair and professor, department of health sector management and policy, and director, Center for Health Sector Management and Policy, which organizes the annual conference. "At the same time, developing countries can benefit from the quality and safety standards in place in North America and Europe, as well as the importance of protecting intellectual property rights."

In his talk on "Health Systems in a Globalized World," Frenk emphasized the theme of interdependence. "The traditional view is that problems like diseases flow from south to north, while solutions flow from north to south," Frenk said. "I think this paradigm is obsolete. Look at the tobacco industry's focus on emerging markets or the growth in obesity. Climate change is another major public health risk factor."

In response to a student's question, Frenk noted that the U.S. Affordable Care Act (ACA) has implications far beyond U.S. borders. "Other nations are looking at the ACA to see what lessons they can apply to their own uninsured populations," he said, "The ACA has also increased the need for nurses and physicians, which affects the global movement of health professionals."

patrick geraghty

Patrick Geraghty during his keynote on insights and
takeaways from the global health conversation

Frenk noted that the global health sector includes the trans-border exchange of services like telehealth, the establishment of new medical facilities in foreign countries, the movement of physicians, nurses and other professionals, and medical tourism by consumers. 

"We think of health tourism as American patients seeking care from lower-cost providers, but each year there are about 800,000 international patients who come to the U.S. – a trend that is particularly important for South Florida because of Miami's strategic location in the Americas."

Later in the conference, Mary Miller Sallah, director of global client programs for the Medical Tourism Association, gave a presentation on "Innovation and the Importance of Technology in Attracting Health Care Buyers."  Also, Eduardo de Marchena, MD, associate dean, international medicine, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, moderated a panel discussion on "Facilitating Global Medical Tourism" with Morgan Darwin, CEO, A&K Global Health; Marc Harrison, MD, chief, international business development, Cleveland Clinic; and Anne Burdick, MD, professor of dermatology and associate dean, UM TeleHealth and Clinical Outreach, University of Miami Health System.

Patrick Geraghty, chairman and CEO, GuideWell Mutual Holding Corporation and Florida Blue, gave the second keynote address on "Insights and Takeaways from the Global Health Conversation.”  He said complex health problems like obesity and cancer are major challenges in developed markets, while sanitation, immunization and nutrition are top priorities in emerging regions, along with treating acute and chronic conditions. "But those emerging nations don't want to replicate our hospital-intensive infrastructure," he said. "Instead, they want to leapfrog the developed world and move forward on a different track."

Richard L. Clarke, chair of the board of directors of CHRISTUS Health, a faith-based international health system, moderated a panel discussion on "Health Care Providers' Strategies on Going Global," with Ernie W. Sadau, CEO, CHRISTUS Health and Patricio Donoso Ibáñez, provost , managerial institutional affairs and professor, School of Management, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, CHRISTUS' joint venture partner in Chile. 

global health social responsibility

Felicia Knaul moderated a panel on global health and social

Felicia Knaul, professor, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and director, Miami Institute for the Americas, moderated a panel discussion on "Global Health and Social Responsibility."  She said, "We should all get up every morning and think about what we can do to prevent all the avoidable deaths in the world." The panelists were Freda Lewis-Hall, M.D., chief medical officer and executive vice president, Pfizer; David M. Barash, MD, executive director, Global Health Portfolio, and chief medical officer, GE Foundation; and Penny Shaffer, market -president, South Florida, Florida Blue.

In the panel on "International Finance, M&A, and Joint Ventures," former Sen. Kerrey, now managing director, Allen & Company, said, "I love the non-profit side but someone has to generate wealth and pay the taxes, and that's the private sector.”

Kerrey moderated the panel with Joseph Modisett, managing director, Bank of America Merrill Lynch; Mark Avagliano, vice president of corporate development, Pfizer; and Dan Shoenholz, healthcare co-leader, managing director, Parthenon-EY. "The U.S. has a robust market for emerging-stage companies," said Modisett. "If you have a good idea, we have a vibrant capital market and a set of investors who are willing to take that risk."

Attendees praised the school's conference for its topics and speakers.  "Global health is an increasingly important issue for our community, as the flow of international patient visitors and those looking for new residency into South Florida increases,” said John Brown, director of radiation oncology at Memorial Healthcare System.

John Gentile, medical director, Quality Managed Health Care, a chiropractic managed care network in Broward, said,  “I’ve been coming to this conference for three years because it’s always on the leading edge of health care. Today, I’ve gotten new insights in the global nature of the health care business.”

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