Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) turns 10 years old
Posted: 15 November 2009 09:39 AM   [ Ignore ]
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ACN

The inauguration ten years ago of the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) in Havana was a significant contribution to the Latin American dreams of integration and a high expression of humanism and solidarity.   

The idea of the educational center was conceived by the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, in response to two devastating hurricanes – George and Mitch - that hit Central America.

After the arrival of the first students from Nicaragua on February 27, 1999, in only
little more than two months, the facilities of the former Granma Naval Academy were transformed into the ELAM.

Its official inauguration by Fidel Castro was attended by several heads of state and government on November 15 of the same year, on the occasion of the 9th Iberoamerican Summit that took place in Havana.

“The project has already expanded to all Cuban medical universities and, after five graduations, a total of 7,256 health professionals from some 30 countries – including 33 youths from the United States - have graduated,” the founding rector of the center, Juan Carrizo, told ACN.

Carrizo added that there are currently more than 21,300 undergraduate students from nearly 100 countries receiving medical training in Cuba while more than 2,500 graduates are currently taking post-graduate courses.

“ELAM not only focuses its training on the scientific preparation of its students but also on instilling humanist, ethical and solidarity values into the students,” he added.

These students, once they graduate, return to their communities to offer primary health care and to continue the work of promotion and prevention of Cuban medical brigades currently working in their countries.

“Today, we have students of the six years of the course in all the country’s provinces,” Carrizo stressed.

Since its foundation, ELAM has held regular meetings with associations of parents and relatives, in which they receive details about the plans and results of their childrens’ professional training.

“This is a new concept, revolutionary and humane, of what medical services should be in the world,” Carrizo concluded.

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