MEDICC’s Gail Reed’s Talk on Cuba’s Latin American Medical School Featured on

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The World’s Largest Medical School Has Graduated 23,000 Doctors since 2005

Gail Reed at TEDMED 2014

Big problems need big solutions, sparked by big ideas, imagination and audacity. Havana’s Latin American Medical School trains global physicians to serve local communities.

MEDICC today announced co-founder Gail Reed’s inspirational TEDMED talk on the Latin American Medical School (ELAM) has been selected and featured as a TED Talk. The popular TED Talks platform widely shares "Ideas Worth Spreading" and has attracted more than 1 billion views since 2006. Reed’s talk “Where to train the world's doctors? Cuba” highlights the unique mission of ELAM: to train physicians for the people who need them most, offering full scholarships and medical training to low-income students from around the world who pledge to return home to practice medicine in underserved communities.

Since its founding in 2005, Cuba’s ELAM has graduated 23,000 doctors, with 10,000 more in the pipeline, making it the world’s largest medical school. Graduates come from 83 countries in the Americas, Africa and Asia; and enrollment has grown to 123 nations. More than half the students are young women. The diverse study body represents over 100 ethnic groups.

Explaining why this talk is relevant now, Reed said, “Ridden by Ebola today, other emerging infections tomorrow, and always by chronic diseases—our world needs strong health systems, staffed by well-trained and dedicated people. And their education must be the result of enlightened decisions from policymakers who put health first, learning from the likes of the Latin American Medical School to make this kind of education the rule, not the exception.”

In addition to its contributions to medical education, Cuba’s impact on global health includes nearly 500 nurses and doctors on the front lines against Ebola in West Africa. Currently, Cuba has 50,731 health professionals serving in 66 countries, 65% of them women.

MEDICC supports 200 Latin American Medical School students and graduates in the United States, through the Pipeline to Community Service Program; and also aids graduates in Haiti, indigenous communities in Honduras, and in El Salvador. MEDICC’s award-winning documentary film ¡Salud! on the Cuban health care system and ELAM is available for free viewing and downloading at

Since 1997, MEDICC has worked to enhance cooperation among the US, Cuban and global health communities aimed at better health outcomes and equity. Its programs also include the PubMed-indexed journal MEDICC Review; educational exchange and programs in Cuba for US participants; and Community Partnerships for Health Equity, engaging with health care and community leaders from places such as South Los Angeles and Oakland, California; Albuquerque, New Mexico; The Bronx, New York; and Milwaukee, Wisconson in travel to Cuba to gain insights into Cuban health approaches to improve access and care at home. See:

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Jeannie Barbieri-Low
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