Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute

Tulane University

Cuba: Family Doctor Clinics and Polyclinics Form the Backbone of National Public Health System

February 4th, 2016

From the Tulane University Global Health Magazine

The anticipated easing of restrictions between the U.S. and Cuba may pave the way for increased public health collaborations between the two countries.

Arachu Castro, Samuel Z. Stone Chair of Public Health in Latin America, has decades of experience working in Cuba. Three years ago she relaunched the school’s Public Health in Cuba course, with about a dozen students participating each summer since. The course, taught in Cuba at the National School of Public Health (NSPH) and at sites around the country, examines the Cuban health system within its economic and political context, and shows how the island country has approached universal health coverage.

The School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine previously offered a Cuba summer course but it was put on hold in 2004 when travel restrictions were expanded by the U.S. Before she was even officially installed at the school, Castro (no relation to the current or former president of Cuba) was invited to join a delegation of academic leaders from Tulane, including Dean Pierre Buekens, to visit and meet with officials in Cuba. Restarting the course was one of the key objectives of the trip. “The course is completely a collaboration with the National School of Public Health,” says Castro. While the NSPH in Havana organizes courses for other universities, those programs don’t vary a lot from school to school. “It’s different for Tulane,” she says. “They cater to what we discuss with them that could be important to our students.”

Read the rest of the article here.