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Nashville Hosts Russian Healthcare Delegation: Nashville-Russian Leaders Exchange Ideas for Improving Health Care Systems
November 4, 2011

For Immediate Release

NASHVILLE — A delegation of health care providers from the Kirov region in Russia wrapped up a week-long trip to the U.S. on Friday, Nov. 4 in Nashville by meeting with Nashville health care industry leaders for a day of information exchange and networking. Made possible by the Open World Leadership Center (OWLC), the trip was spearheaded by OWLC’s first trustee former U.S. Senate Majority Leader William H. Frist, M.D., who also serves as the chairman of Hope Through Healing Hands and on the board of the Nashville Health Care Council.

“Opening the dialogue between Nashville and the Kirov region is a key strategy for the U.S. and Russia to identify ways to improve the health of our populations, which share many of the same challenges, including high rates of chronic and communicable diseases underscoring the need for preventive education, the promotion of healthy lifestyles and access to care,” said Frist.

The Nashville visit was hosted by the Health Care Council and Hope Through Healing Hands in partnership with the OWLC. The OWLC was established by Congress to enhance understanding and capabilities for cooperation between the United States and the countries of Eurasia and the Baltic States by developing a network of leaders in the region who have gained significant, firsthand exposure to America’s democratic, accountable government and free-market system.

“Open World works to facilitate unique and candid opportunities between the U.S. and the states of the former Soviet Union to network together and learn from one another. The opportunity for these Russian health care professionals to visit with leaders from Nashville’s well-established health care industry is a unique global outreach opportunity,” said OWLC’s executive director Ambassador John O’Keefe.

The Nashville meetings highlighted the city’s health care industry leadership and innovation, beginning with a tour of Vanderbilt University Medical Center. During the day, delegates also met with representatives from Meharry Medical College and elected officials, including U.S. Congressman Jim Cooper, Tennessee Commissioner of Health Dr. John Dreyzehner, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and Metro Public Health Director Dr. Bill Paul. The officials discussed their roles within the federal, state and local government systems and noted work undertaken by their offices to make the city and state a healthier place to live and work. The day concluded with a meeting at Healthways focusing on the company’s work to improve well-being.

The delegation arrived in the U.S. on October 26 and participated in Open World programs hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C., and the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. In addition to Nashville, while in Tennessee, the group visited Memphis and Knoxville for programming hosted by the local chapters of Friendship Force.

About Open World Leadership Center
The U.S. Congress established Open World in 1999 to enhance understanding and capabilities for cooperation between the United States and Russia. In 2003, Congress made all post-Soviet states eligible for the program. Thanks to Open World, some 17,500 current and future Eurasian leaders have experienced American civil society and have been exposed to new ideas and practices that they can adapt for use in their own work. Open World also promotes partnerships and continued communications between delegates and their American hosts and professional counterparts. Open World currently operates exchanges for political and civic leaders from Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Serbia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. For more information, please visit http://www.openworld.gov.

About the Nashville Health Care Council
The Nashville Health Care Council, founded in 1995 as an affiliate of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, is an association of health care industry leaders working together to further establish Nashville’s position as the nation’s health care industry capital. Worldwide, Nashville’s health care industry generates over 400,000 jobs, more than $70 billion in annual revenue, and is Nashville’s largest and fastest growing employer. For more information, please visit http://www.healthcarecouncil.com.

About Hope Through Healing Hands
Hope Through Healing Hands is a nonprofit 501(c) 3 whose mission is to promote improved quality of life for citizens and communities around the world using health as a currency for peace. Through the prism of health diplomacy, we envision a world where all individuals and families can obtain access to a skilled, motivated, and supported health worker, within a robust health system-domestic and abroad. Specifically, we support partnership in service and training for sustainability. Under the umbrella of health diplomacy, we include efforts for child survival/maternal health, clean water, extreme poverty, and global disease such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and Malaria. Strategically, we promote Global Partnership by working hand-in-hand with leading organizations who best address these issues in developing nations. For more information, please visit http://www.hopethroughhealinghands.org.

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