Leaders from Cuba, University of Minnesota share insights on COVID-19 vaccine rollout

May 3, 2021

Leaders in public health, health care and research from the University of Minnesota and Cuba shared insights about the COVID-19 rollout at a virtual forum on April 21.

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Cuban Public Health Ministry (MINSAP) and Institutes speakers included Dagmar García, PhD, director of Research, Finlay Vaccine Institute; Ileana Morales Suárez, MD, director of Science and Technology Innovation, MINSAP, and coordinator of the national vaccination plan for COVID-19; and Mayra García Carmenates, MD, family physician and head of the Communicable Diseases Department, Provincial Hygiene, Epidemiology and Microbiology Center of Havana, coordinator of phase 3 Soberana 02 COVID-19 vaccine trials in Havana; and Lysis Muñiz Álvarez, MD, an assistant professor and principal investigator for the phase 3 trial of the Soberana 02 vaccine candidate at the Plaza Community Polyclinic in Havana.

University of Minnesota and M Health Fairview speakers included Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD, dean of Medical School, Vice President for Clinical Affairs; Rebecca Wurtz MD, MPHA, associate professor, division of Health Policy and Management; John Pastor, vice president for M Health Fairview responsible for pharmacy services and respiratory care across the health-system; and Maria I. Raines, MS, APRN, ACNS-BC, VP/chief nursing officer for University of Minnesota Medical Center & Masonic Children’s Hospital for M Health Fairview.

It’s the second event in a series of conversations between leaders in Cuba and the University of Minnesota meant to foster and promote relations with health care leaders to improve the health and wellbeing of Minnesotans and Cubans.

This event was jointly sponsored by the University of Minnesota School of Nursing, the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and the MEDICC Review journal.

December 16, 2020: Understanding COVID-19 Minnesota-Cuba Innovations and Research

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On December 16, 2020, leaders in public health, nursing, and medicine from the University of Minnesota and Cuba gathered at a virtual forum to share their experiences working on the frontlines against COVID-19. Panelists explored topics related to: public health measures, clinical care and therapies, and the outlook on new vaccines.

We anticipate holding future events and opportunities that advance discussion and information sharing between Cuba and Minnesota. 

Moderator: Gail Reed, Executive Editor of MEDICC Review

Video 1: Welcome Remarks

“My hope is that [this] forum opens the door for future engagement and learning.”
 — University of Minnesota President Joan T.A. Gabel 

Brief overview

  • COVID in Minnesota: Michael Osterholm, PhD, Regents Professor of Public Health, Director, Center for Infectious Disease Policy
  • COVID in Cuba: Francisco Durán, MD, National Director of Epidemiology Cuba

Containment: Schools and universities

  • Cuba: Ileana Morales Suarez MD, MS National Director of Science and Technology Innovation for the Ministry of Health
  • Minnesota: Jakub Tolar, Dean of Medical School, Vice President for Clinical Affairs

Clinical trials and vaccines

  • Cuba: Dagmar García, Director of Research Finlay Vaccine Institute
  • Minnesota: Tim Schacker, MD, Clinical Trials for Treatments and Vaccination, VP Medical School

Clinical care during and after COVID

  • Cuba (Acute Care): Daniel González, MD, Director of Clinical Car Tropical Medical Institute
  • Minnesota (Post-Acute Care): Laura Reed, DNP, RN Chief Nursing Executive and Chief Operating Officer, MHealth Fairview, speaking about COVID Survivor Clinic'

Video 2: Closing Remarks

“We need your insights and expertise now more than ever...If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that our world is more connected than ever before.”
 — U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar



Media Contacts

Steve Rudolph
School of Nursing