HHS often has important visitors who are interested in our health initiatives and scientific research. But a group of visitors last month was most unusual. The HHS Office of Global Affairs hosted a historic delegation from Cuba: Vice Minister for Public Health José Angel Portal Miranda, along with health sector leaders and representatives from the Cuban embassy, met with HHS and Department of State officials for the first time since President Obama announced significant moves to normalize relations with Cuba.

The week-long trip, which included visits to NIH in Bethesda and then to CDC headquarters in Atlanta, focused on deepening scientific and public health cooperation between the United States and Cuba. Immediate areas of possible collaboration include expanding research, monitoring and responding to infectious diseases like Zika and dengue, and treating and addressing non-communicable diseases like cancer and diabetes.

While in D.C., the delegation had the opportunity to visit Mary’s Center, a federally-qualified health center.

“It is a beautiful institution,” said Dr. Jorge J. Marinello Guerrero, president of the Cuban Oncology Society and a delegation member. “We found a team of people that loved their work greatly and worked with lots of love for people, many of whom were people with limited resources—and that was really where they demonstrated the human aspect. It is the type of attention that we hope would reach everyone, and the type of attention we try to extend to all Cubans.”


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