By Caribbean News Now contributor
PEMBROKE PINES, USA — American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC) and Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (HMFP) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), with the aim of establishing a centre of excellence for disaster medicine in the Caribbean.
“As a medical school with its main campus in the Caribbean, AUC is ideally positioned to develop medical education and training opportunities in the areas of hurricane preparedness and emergency response to benefit the region and beyond,” said Heidi Chumley, MD, MBA, executive dean at AUC. “We’re excited to work with HMFP to explore a wide range of collaborative efforts, and apply our combined expertise to the challenges facing the country of St Maarten and the region.”
HMFP is the academic physician group exclusively affiliated with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), a major Harvard Medical School teaching affiliate in Boston. HMFP deploys members of its emergency medicine department to collaborations across the globe to build capacity in disaster preparedness and response systems, and provides continuing education and training to healthcare professionals and first responders.
“This collaboration with AUC offers a uniquely positioned platform to develop academic, research, and operational capacity in a region where hurricanes and tropical storms pose a threat,” said Gregory R. Ciottone, MD, FACEP, FFSEM, director of the Division of Disaster Medicine at BIDMC and associate professor of emergency medicine at Harvard Medical School. “We’re looking forward to engaging with experts in the Caribbean through this centre of excellence in disaster medicine, and exposing more medical students to this challenging and immensely rewarding field.”
Currently in the planning stage, the centre could potentially include academic exchanges involving faculty and medical students, continuing education and training programs, conferences and symposia, and on-site teaching on AUC’s St Maarten medical sciences campus by Harvard Medical School faculty, and leverage the wide range of medical and healthcare resources and programs within Adtalem, the parent organization AUC in St Maarten, Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) in Dominica and Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (RUSVM) in St Kitts.
Adtalem has recently become embroiled in a massive controversy over its decision to relocate RUSM from Dominica to Barbados following Hurricane Maria in September 2017, thus impacting some 30 percent of Dominica’s economy and thus its ability to recover from the devastation caused by Maria.