mural in Cuba
Photo courtesy of faculty member Mary Anne Mercer.
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In the decades since the success of the 1959 Cuban Revolution, that small island has gained a global reputation for its pioneering health system. Although Cuba’s GDP is only a fraction of that of the U.S., the island has a lower infant mortality rate and has among the highest life expectancies and doctor-patient ratios in the world. What factors account for the success of medicine and public health in Cuba?

In early November the UW Department of Global Health and Health Alliance International sponsored a visit from Dr. Enrique Beldarrain Chaple, a medical historian from Cuba. Dr. Beldarrain is the Chief of the Research Department at the Cuban National Information Center of Medical Sciences and a Professor of Public Health and the History of Medicine at the National School of Public Health.  He spent a week in Seattle meeting with a range of faculty, staff and students at UW as well as the Seattle-Cuba Friendship Society.  On November 10 he presented a university-wide lecture describing the public health system in Cuba.