CHOP CEO: Why We’re Partnering With UAE Health System
Madeline Bell has a plan to help improve pediatric care halfway across the world. The president and CEO of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was in Dubai today to officially announce a strategic partnership with VPS Healthcare, which has 16 hospitals (11 in the UAE) and 7,500 employees spread across the Middle East, Europe, U.K. and India.
The goal is to share CHOP’s knowledge of pediatric medicine with VPS, so VPS can better care for patients. CHOP doctors will travel to Dubai and Abu Dhabi for week-long stretches to perform consultations on certain pediatric sub-specialties and do patient care. CHOP experts will also conduct continuing-education conferences in the UAE. VPS doctors will travel to CHOP to observe patient care, and will stay for a few weeks at a time depending on visas.
In a phone call from Dubai, Bell said she’s excited to help VPS improve the way it cares for kids. Bell said that, in the UAE, the “availability and depth of physicians is not what we would see in U.S. The facilities are nice and had state-of-art equipment” but the physicians lack the “access to medical education they have in our country.”
So CHOP is conducting an assessment of pediatric care at VPS to find gaps and figure out where to improve.
“We know generally that they need support on cancer, cardiac care and neurology, but the first phase is the assessment,” she said.
CHOP — known as one of the best children’s hospitals in the world — has been receiving patients from the UAE since the 1990s, and has had teams of doctors traveling to the region for years. This, however, is its first formal partnership agreement there.
VPS has a similar strategic partnership in place with Penn Medicine — which introduced VPS executives to CHOP’s leadership. In October, VPS and CHOP signed a “memorandum of understanding” but are just now releasing details about the program.
It’s worth noting that VPS is constructing multiple hospitals in the UAE, but CHOP doesn’t have any capital investment in them. This is just a knowledge-sharing partnership.
Bell said that she received a warm welcome at today’s press conference and said that many people in Dubai are excited to see pediatric care in the region get a jolt of new energy.
“The health authority was quite pleased,” she said. “Several people said how happy they were to have CHOP supporting their patients.”
Dr. Shamsheer Vayalil, founder and managing director of VPS Healthcare, said in a statement that: “This relationship sharpens our focus and commitment to raise the standards of medical care for our patients and the people of the Middle East who need it most, no more so than children, including those innocent victims of the continuing humanitarian crisis in other parts of the region.”
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