Posts Tagged ‘health technologies’

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U.S. Medical Center Partners with Kuwaiti Institution and U.S. Embassy for World Diabetes Day

November 29, 2012

Steve Miller is an International Trade Specialist in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Service Industries where he is responsible for knowledge economy issues including health services, research and development services, and university commercialization.

Ambassador Tueller (left) and Dr. Kazem Behbehani, Director General of the Dasman Diabetes Institute at the "Diabetes 101: Understanding Diabetes Worldwide" Digital Video Conference on November 14, 2012.

Ambassador Tueller (left) and Dr. Kazem Behbehani, Director General of the Dasman Diabetes Institute at the “Diabetes 101: Understanding Diabetes Worldwide” Digital Video Conference on November 14, 2012.

On November 14 the U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait, Matthew Tueller, along with representatives from U.S. and Kuwaiti healthcare institutions participated in a Digital Video Conference (DVC), Diabetes 101: Understanding Diabetes Worldwide to provide education on this healthcare challenge and create linkages between clinicians in both countries. The event was hosted by Kuwait’s previer diabetes research and treatment facility, Dasman Diabetes Institute, the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait and San Antonio’s Methodist Healthcare Systems. Methodist is one of over 30 U.S. academic medical centers that comprise the United States Cooperative for International Patient Programs (USCIPP), a joint program between the University HealthSystem Consortium and the International Trade Administration, through its Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP).

Nearly 60 doctors, nurses, clinicians, diabetes educators and nutritionists from Dasman’s multinational staff were in attendance in addition to several Kuwaiti health care professionals and a number of local journalists from print and television. Opening the event, Ambassador Tueller highlighted the important role that medicine has played in the U.S.-Kuwait relationship, beginning with the establishment of the first hospital in Kuwait, the Amrikani Hospital, by American missionaries in 1912. The Ambassador further noted that, just like in Kuwait, Type 2 diabetes is also a problem in the U.S. and that events such as this DVC illustrate how Americans and Kuwaitis can come together to address mutual concerns and share best practices and experiences to move toward a common goal.

Following the Ambassador’s remarks, Ms. Sara Villegas, a veteran diabetes educator from Methodist Healthcare Systems, gave an overview of diabetes in the U.S., primarily focusing on Type 2 diabetes. Her presentation not only addressed the current situation in the U.S., but also highlighted prevention and disease management strategies. After a brief look at the global scope of the disease, she turned the stage over to Dasman Diabetes Institute Director Dr. Kazem Behbehani, who discussed the rampant increases in Type 2 diabetes in Kuwait over the last twenty years, and the challenges that the country will potentially face if the disease is not checked. In their presentations, both speakers stressed the importance of prevention and awareness activities in combating the disease.

The DVC received widespread and favorable media coverage, with stories appearing in many of Kuwait’s daily Arabic and English newspapers, and reports carried on several local television stations.

Additional events are planned between healthcare institutions in the U.S. and the region. More on ITA’s MDCP program can be found at http://www.trade.gov/mdcp.

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First U.S. Healthcare Policy and Trade Mission to Mexico

May 22, 2012

Doug Wallace is a Commercial Officer currently working at the San Francisco Export Assistance Center, and has worked for the International Trade Administration for 15 years.

Thanks to Mexican healthcare reforms, I arose groggily at 5:30 AM and stumbled towards my in-room coffee machine. My Commercial Service colleagues and I organized a Healthcare Policy and Trade Mission of 17 companies to Mexico May 13-15, and the bus was embarking on our medical odyssey in 30 minutes!

Our delegates’ U.S. firms made very interesting products. One made speech recognition software that solved the time-consuming and dangerous global phenomenon of bad handwriting (Give a doctor a pen, and he or she will write poorly in any language.) Others made knee orthopedic devices, ultrasound, infectious disease diagnostics, and air flow aps for clean rooms. One company even sold human tissue samples. Ew.

Off we trundled to begin the Mission at the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases (hey, the traffic isn’t that bad!) to understand Mexico’s priorities for healthcare services and equipment. Given Mexico City’s notorious air quality, I realized that the Institute must be extremely busy, especially with Mt. Popocatepetl currently spewing ash nearby.

Under Secretary Francisco Sanchez with staff of U.S. Commercial Service Mexico City (Photo Eduardo Sanchez)

Under Secretary Francisco Sanchez with staff of U.S. Commercial Service Mexico City (Photo Eduardo Sanchez)

The Mexican Government is expanding health care coverage to all citizens, and with 4 percent economic growth expected for 2012, this is an excellent market for U.S. medical sector companies. Under Secretary Francisco Sánchez led our group to the Mexican Ministry of Health where we learned about Mexico’s priority for integrating and expanding health information management and telemedicine to expand healthcare into far-flung regions. Mexico’s Director General for Planning and Development closed his presentation saying, “we want to adopt the good practices of the United States, and avoid all your mistakes,” to which I did not know whether to raise an eyebrow or cluck “hear, hear!”

There is a discernible look in the eye and tone in the voice of all the players we met in Mexico’s healthcare universe. It’s… pride. Mixed with determination. This was indeed the case for all the hospital administrators who led us on tours of oncology wings, cardiac centers, and emergency rooms. Deeper we went into the duodenum of one hospital facility, like an encapsulated endoscopy. Then, we turned a corner and one delegate let out a short gasp. There it lay: a Varian Cyber Knife.  This hospital’s street cred was now firmly established.

The next day, we had breakfast with U.S. Ambassador Wayne and the head of COFEPRIS, Mexico’s FDA. Over the past year, license application times and bureaucratic steps have dramatically shrunk. Predictability and transparency in the drug and device approval process have dramatically increased. Mexico is striving to establish one of the world’s most modern regulatory regimes. From an afternoon’s worth of in-depth healthcare presentations delivered by numerous luminaries in Mexico’s healthcare sector, one readily grasped the country’s commitment to provide the best possible healthcare to all patients, while employing sound management and technology to bend the cost curve and serve rural areas.

After such a whirlwind introduction to Mexico’s healthcare market, we thanked our hosts, and are already planning our next steps in expanding into this exciting market.

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Minnesota Medical Device Exporters Learn about the National Export Initiative

July 14, 2010
  

ITA’s Office of Health and Consumer Goods (ITA/MAS/OHCG) has begun organizing and conducting seminars for U.S. medical device small and medium-enterprises (SMEs) in partnership with industry and U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEACs) under the National Export Initiative or NEI.

Despite the economic odds, the medical devices industry has experienced dynamic growth in recent years.  The U.S. medical devices industry has had a consistent trade surplus, and U.S. firms are the leading global producers of advanced technology medical devices.

OHCG hosted its very first seminar for medical device SMEs in Minneapolis, Minnesota on June 11 led by ITA National NEI Director Courtney Gregoire.  Attendees were also pleased to welcome Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar who has been an emphatic advocate for the medical device industry.

The seminar focused on the three subjects encapsulated in the NEI:  access to export financing, export promotion efforts, and access to foreign markets (in this case, China and Canada).  Ryan Kanne, Minneapolis USEAC Director, and I highlighted the services ITA offers to experienced and novice medical device exporters throughout the seminar. The event was very well received, as evidenced by the evaluation forms:  one hundred percent of those received rated the event at “Very Good” or “Excellent.”

Remarkably, large multi-national medical device firms have been interested in supporting these export seminars, because SMEs are a major source of industry innovation and are also an important component of the medical devices supply chain.  Also, firms participating in existing Department of Commerce public-private partnerships, such as Federal Express, have expressed interested in supporting medical devices NEI SME export seminars.

OHCG will work with medical devices industry associations (both national and regional), medical device firms, and USEACs to plan and organize SME seminars to advance the NEI.  Four to five additional seminars are anticipated in 2011. Possible sites for these events include cities with significant medical device clusters such as Louisville, Kentucky, Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago, as well as areas of Southern California, and Florida. To keep up to date on current health care and medical device opportunities, visit the Health Technologies site on www.export.gov

Gerry Zapiain explains ITA's mission to potential SME exporters of medical devices at NEI event in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Gerry Zapiain explains ITA’s mission to potential SME exporters of medical devices at NEI event in Minneapolis, Minnesota Photo: Ryan Kanne, Dir. Minneapolis USEAC

Gerry Zapiain is an International Trade Specialist and has been with the International Trade Administration for over ten years in a variety of capacities.  He currently serves as a Health Team International Trade Specialist in the Office of Health and Consumer Goods within Manufacturing and Services.  

 
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