The Future of Healthcare Collaboration Between Cedars-Sinai, Mexico
Jun 30, 2021 Jasmine Aimaq
Dr. Jorge Goldberg believes that communities are global. The senior consultant for Cedars-Sinai International has long worked in private healthcare in Mexico, and is delighted to see Cedars-Sinai expand its efforts to bring world-class medicine to patients outside the U.S.
Collaborating with physicians and administrators at Cedars-Sinai, the internal medicine and gastroenterology specialist is helping strengthen ties between Mexico and the U.S in an initiative called Healthcare Diplomacy while finding ways to share knowledge and care across the border.
"Some 15 years ago I was asked by Cedars-Sinai International to help develop the medical center's presence in my home country. I was very happy to help because I believe that we are part of one region and one community."
How did you get started working with Cedars-Sinai?
Dr. Jorge Goldberg: I got my medical degree in Mexico but got further training in the U.S., at Johns Hopkins and at Sinai of Baltimore. I entered private practice in Mexico City, serving at ABC Hospital and as one of the co-founders of Clinica Lomas Altas, but my connection to the U.S remained, and Los Angeles is such an important hub in the U.S.-Mexico relationship.
Some 15 years ago, I was asked by Cedars-Sinai International to help develop Cedars-Sinai's presence in my home country. I was very happy to help because I believe that we are part of one region and one community.
Cedars-Sinai is not only a top medical institution, it's also ideally located to engage with healthcare in Mexico. I conduct outreach, talking to local physicians or administrators in Mexico, educating them about Cedars-Sinai and finding areas for cooperation and new programs.
Tell us about some of the joint programs between Cedars-Sinai and healthcare organizations in Mexico.
JG: We started mainly by reaching out to the Jewish community and private hospitals in Mexico. We launched exchange programs that brought physicians from Cedars-Sinai to give presentations and sent Mexican physicians to Cedars-Sinai to get familiar with the institution and learn about its processes and mission.
Since then, we've expanded our efforts, helping patients who want to go to Cedars-Sinai for specialized medical care. To improve their experience, we opened a Cedars-Sinai office in Mexico to help them make appointments, transfer medical records, assist with travel arrangements and accommodations in Los Angeles, and arrange for a dedicated, Spanish-speaking nurse to provide support during their stay.
What type of care do patients from Mexico seek at Cedars-Sinai?
JG: We have good medical care in Mexico, so we refer patients to Cedars-Sinai for complex diagnostics and treatments, which may include difficult surgeries. We especially focus on Cedars-Sinai areas that are designated as Centers of Excellence: neurosurgery, spine surgery, cardiology and cancer care.
How has the pandemic changed cross-border healthcare collaboration?
JG: We haven’t been able to easily send patients to the U.S., but the silver lining is that we've expanded cross-border virtual care, offering second opinions on Zoom, for example. I expect that this will continue even as COVID-19 eases.
We've also really increased webinars. Some of these events, which can draw hundreds of participants, involve physicians giving talks to patients, and in other cases they consist of physician conferences.
"I look forward to expanding Cedars-Sinai's presence not just in Mexico, but in Latin America more broadly."
What's in store for the future?
JG: I look forward to expanding Cedars-Sinai's presence not just in Mexico, but in Latin America more broadly. I envision greater access to virtual care, more training and physician exchange programs, and an increase in joint studies and research.
We're currently working on a joint research project to identify variants of the coronavirus in Mexico, for example. I recently helped bring about agreements with the French Club and Centro Libanés in Mexico City.
And we're planning to expand the relationship with Cedars-Sinai to other cities including Guadalajara and Monterey. We see promising opportunities in Colombia and Panama, too.
What's your favorite thing about L.A.?
JG: I visit L.A. four or five times per year and really enjoy meeting with my colleagues at Cedars-Sinai, including Dr. Heitham Hassoun, the director of Cedars-Sinai International with whom I work closely. Of course I love the beaches—the beautiful sunsets, walks along the water and bicycle rides. But for me, the best thing about L.A is my family: I have two sons and five grandchildren in L.A., so I have close personal ties to the city. That makes my visits a special joy.