Although Cuba is known for its rum, cigars and of course vintage cars, one of the most significant exports for its economy is its medical practitioners. Thousands of doctors, nurses, technicians and research scientists are dispersed every year from this island nation. December 11-14, 2019 was the third annual Cardio-Oncology Symposium in Havana, Cuba, sponsored by the Cuban Societies of Oncology and Cardiology. Attendance increased from about 50 two years ago, to almost 200 participants this year!.
The conference was held at the historic Hotel Libre Habana in the heart of the city.
A unique contribution of this conference was its breadth of reach. Presenters included cardiologists, oncologists, nurses, doctors and other allied professionals. Topics ranged from “Molecular pathways of exercise in cardiotoxicity and its clinical application,” to “How to organize a cardio oncology center in a rural hospital.” There were presentations addressing issues of cardiotoxicity, biometrics, imaging technologies and strategies for clinical practice. The nations represented on the podium included Cuba, Chile, USA, Ecuador and Mexico. The addition of lectures on palliative care, psychological and pastoral care of cardio oncology patients was a welcome and unique contribution. It was an outstanding example of providing instruction on the holistic care of patients.
Several high-profile leaders and dignitaries in the Cuban medical and research community participated including:
- Dr. Luis Curbelo Alfonso. Director Instituto Nacional de Oncología y Radiobiología. INOR / Director of the National Institute for Oncology and Radiobiology, INOR.
- Dr. Jorge J. Marinello Guerrero. Presidente de la Sociedad de Oncología / President of the Society for Oncology.
- Dr. Eduardo Rivas Estany. Presidente de la Sociedad de Cardiología/ President of the Society for Cardiology.
- Dr. Pedro Veliz Martínez, Presidente del Consejo Científico de la Salud/ President of the Scientific Council for Health
- Fidel Antonio Castro Smirnov (yes, he is the grandson of the other Fidel we all know) of the University Ciencias Informaticas, who presented on “Nanotechnology: A look into the future of Cardiology.”
The lead organizer of the conference was Dr. Manuel Bazan of the Instituto de Oncologia y Radiobiologia (seen here in the photo with Dr. Eric Harrison & Steve Casselli of ICOS and their translator Raquel Nunez). In addition to organizing the summit Dr. Bazan also lectured on “Lessons learned from childhood cancer survivors. How to mitigate cardiotoxicity.” The Chairman of the Board of ICOS, Dr. Harrison represented our Society with a presentation on “The use of Cardiac CT Aps to Evaluate Patients’ Coronary Arteries after Coronary Radiation Exposure.”
For those who live and work in South America or other Spanish speaking countries this conference offers the opportunity to have all of this excellent material delivered in your native tongue. If you are looking for a Spanish language cardio-oncology conference, you will want to consider attending next year’s Cuba symposium. As soon as the details are posted, we will make them available to you.Many new friendships were formed, which will contribute to the growth of our global cardio oncology community creating new synergy for the work we share. The conference ended with traditional Cuban food, drink, and of course dancing!
Collaboration across the disciplines and around the world to enhance patient care is why ICOS exists and Cuba made a substantial contribution this mission.