Healing that Starts In Philadelphia and Reaches the World

Aggie Ebrahimi Bazaz, for GPA -- On Thursday November 10, esteemed doctors and researchers in Philadelphia’s Hispanic American community convened at the exquisitely designed Walnut Hill College Restaurant School for the Annual Board Meeting of the Society for Ibero Latin American Medical Professionals (SILAMP). In attendance were cardiologists, transplant specialists, general practitioners, psychiatrists, and public relations experts and public policy researchers. Global Philadelphia Association was honored to be invited into such distinguished company for a night of networking and informed exchange.

The event was presided over by the outgoing Board President, Dr. Diana Larisgoitia who effortlessly worked her way through the audience, connecting people with shared interests. It was through such deft networking that Dr. Larisgoitia introduced Global Philadelphia Association to leading doctors and outreach coordinators from Albert Einstein Medical Center, a leading transplant center, teaching hospital and medical care facility located in North Philadelphia.

Not only does Einstein Medical attract top-tier doctors from all around the world, it is deeply committed to cultural sensitivity and community outreach. It is in fact one of the only hospitals in Philadelphia with on-site translators to accommodate its very diverse clientele. This clientele includes many residents of New York City’s Chinatown who travel into Philadelphia because of Einstein’s long-standing reputation as a hospital where multi-lingual patients can speak and acquire information in the language in which they’re most comfortable. According to Einstein's website, the medica center "provides over 15,000 interpretations a year in more than 60 languages," either live in person or by phone. No better a symbol of this welcoming environment exists than in the lobby of the hospital where the Patients' Bill Rights is displayed in at least 10 different languages.

Language is only one means through which Einstein doctors and staff demonstrate their cultural sensitivity. They also conduct extensive research to understand community needs and to best facilitate community health interventions. In a presentation on the “challenges and rewards” that accompany transplants in the Latin American community, Dr. Jorge Alberto Ortiz, Section Chief of Liver Transplant Surgery, discussed the various means Einstein employs to educate the Latin American community about liver health and transplant support services. Einstein doctors and administrators reach out to Latin American hospitals, community groups, media outlets (such as Al Día) and families to inform this, the fastest growing population in the United States, about the need for regular health screenings and to clear any misconceptions regarding organ donation.

Dr. Ortiz’s presentation was followed by another equally enlightening and globally-informed discussion. Elias Gonzalez, an undergraduate student in Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania presented findings from a research study he and a colleague conducted in the Dominican Republic under the aegis of the Malaria Eradication Project. This project is a partnership between the North Philadelphia Madrugadores Rotary Club and the United Nations Association of Greater Philadelphia that focuses on eradicating malaria in the Hispaniola Island, a major island in the Caribbean containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. 

Mr. Gonzalez and his colleague examined health policy and health institutions in the Dominican Republic in preparation for a proposed conference, organized by Philadelphia’s Malaria Eradication Project, that will bring together experts in malaria to make policy recommendations in the towards the eradication of malaria.

Global Philadelphia Association was so pleased to attend this meeting and learn about the bounty of inspired, healing work that is headquartered in the City and that reaches out to the world.