Diaspora Dialogues Brings Cuban Healthcare Diplomacy to Light

Anatomy students at Elam, the medical school set up after hurricanes Georges and Mitch devastated the Caribbean in 1998

In a white, mini-theatre adorned with paintings memorializing African American post-slavery plantation life

Assistant Professor of Political Science Kwasi Densu and 15 students and faculty members gathered to discuss medical education in Cuba.

The discussion was located in the Black Archives Museum entitled “Diaspora Dialogues.”

Diaspora Dialogues is open to students and faculty members. It touches on topics dealing with social and political trends in regions with people that have African ancestry.

“We are dedicated to having these conversations across disciplines,” Densu said. “Last time we talked about imprisonment amongst races but today we are going to discuss healthcare and how it is a basic right.”

The discussion began with a viewing of a speech led by Gail Reed, a Cuban health care expert and journalist, at a TEDMED convention located in Baltimore, Md. TEDMED is a segment about medicine and healthcare.

In the video, Reed defends why the world’s doctors should be trained in Cuba, a leading country in community-based healthcare.

“Havana’ Latina American Medical School is the largest medical school in the world,” Reed said. “It’s mission to train physicians for the people who need them the most…the people who live and die in under every poverty line ever invented.“

Dr. Haynes is currently the Outreach Enrollment Specialist at the Bond Community Health Center, Inc.  She is always open to discussing her experiences in Cuba, as well as, as her enrollment process to medical.

Amanda Shabaka Haynes,  a graduate of the Latin American School of Medicine, noted that Cuban money is not considered when pursuing a career in medicine.

“In Cuba, I had a passion for medicine,” Haynes said. “Unlike here in the states, money is no longer the issue. The work is.”

The discussion’s primary goal is to bring to light overlooked people living in the African Diaspora, Cuba’s effort in penetrating African culture and religion into their existing culture was mentioned.  A power-point presentation projected on a white screen showing images of Cubans.

“I live in South Florida where most of the Cubans appear to be white,” said Ashleigh Duncan, a senior political science student at Florida A & M University. “I learned so much during this discussion about Cuba that you wouldn’t normally hear about in South Florida or America in general.”

By Kandice Hill, Famuan

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