A noted central Indiana heart surgeon is part of a multinational group helping to train Cuban doctors on the latest innovations and techniques. Marc Gerdisch says the volunteer effort through the global 21st Century Cardiothoracic Surgical Society is allowing counterparts in the Caribbean nation to use "some of these leaps in technology that we’ve enjoyed." During an interview on Inside INdiana Business Television, Gerdisch tells Business of Health Reporter Barb Lewis the Cuban doctors will spend time in operating rooms in the U.S. and their home country.
Gerdisch says as relations between the two countries are softening, it has allowed the partnerships to form. He says doctors in Cuba are highly-skilled and are operating on the same types of health issues as American doctors, but often with techniques and devices that are outdated.
Gerdisch is co-director of the Franciscan St. Francis Heart Valve Center in Indianapolis and previously served as president of the 21st Century Cardiothoracic Surgical Society. He says the group will return in the next few months to Cuba. Gerdisch says the partnership will remain informal and it includes helping the Cuban surgeons innovate their current operating room devices. In fact, he says the group brought back a surgical tool used by one of the doctors and Gerdisch is working to help advance it before returning.
21CCSS held its first meeting in New York City in 1994. Members of the group gather each year on Presidents Day weekend for networking and workshop activities. Its leaders of 21CCSS currently include highly-regarded surgeons from the U.S. and Canada. It has 65 members from throughout the world.