Clarkston, GA – The Clarkston Development Foundation (CDF), a non-profit organization supporting Clarkston community members to take a leading role in the development of their city, announced today that its community health director, Lorrie Lynn King, has been invited by the American Public Health Association (APHA) and Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba (MEDICC) to join a group travelling to the country to tour medical facilities and explore the universal healthcare system that has a history of success there. King is one of only 40 U.S. public health practitioners invited to participate in this tour and exchange ideas with Cuban medical, social work and public health professionals. She will be visiting sites in Havana and Cienfuegos for a review of both urban and rural communities.
“Even with limited resources, Cuba has achieved high success in healthcare,” said King. “Thanks to a successful universal public health system with strong community engagement, Cuba’s people are healthy, with achievements such as the lowest HIV rate in the Americas, and one of the highest doctor-to-patient ratios in the world. The United States can learn much from an exchange of ideas with the Cuban medical community. I am honored to have been chosen to join this delegation, and am looking forward to bringing back ideas that I can implement in my own community.”
MEDICC is leading the group tour for APHA. Founded in 1997, MEDICC is a non-profit organization working to enhance cooperation among the U.S., Cuban and global health communities aimed at better health outcomes and equity. The group believes that health care – especially for underserved populations – can be informed by Cuba’s singular universal health system and its evolving health policies, practice, research and education. MEDICC also promotes that the U.S. and other nations’ experience in medicine and medical research can inform practice in Cuba and the developing world.
King will spend a week with the APHA group in Cuba in April, during which time she will tour hospitals, neighborhood clinics, and community health worker organizations. She will also attend the CubaSalud 2015 International Health Conference, the Cuban equivalent of the APHA annual conference, where she will discuss with doctors, medical social workers, grassroots community healthcare workers, and other healthcare practioners the successful implementation and maintenance of Cuba’s universal healthcare system, which owes much of its success to strong community-engaged primary care practices. She hopes to bring back to Clarkston new ways to promote primary care as a priority in her own community, many of whom are resettled refugees from war-torn areas such as Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Burma, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Central African Republic, South Sudan and Colombia.
“The refugee community in Clarkston needs not just access to basic healthcare, but specialized services dealing with living with HIV/AIDs or the aftermath of rape warfare, torture and genocide,” stated King. “Disadvantaged and disenfranchised people in over 70 countries are benefiting right now from Cuba’s unprecedented global health cooperation. Over 38,000 Cuban health professionals provide health services in the most precarious places. My goal in this trip is to learn from them, and develop a holistic healthcare program that helps not just the refugee community here in Clarkston, but will address the health disparities facing all Americans.”