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Uzbekistan's Ambassador visits MITAC

On March 26, 2001 the ambassador of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Mr. Sodyq Safayev visited the Department of Surgery and the MITAC. The ambassador was accompanied by Dr. Ikbol Karimova. The Uzbeki delegation met with Dr. Merrell, Mr. Doarn and Dr. Lavrentyev to disucss collaborative activities in Uzbekistan. Dr. Karimova gave a presentation on telemedicine in Uzbekistan. Dr. Furkat Karimov, owner of MDS Company, joined the meeting via teleconference from Uzbekistan. Dr. Karimov highlighted an approach for collaborating in mutually beneficial projects between MITAC and MDS. The ambassador invited Dr. Merrell, Mr. Doarn and Dr. Lavrentyev to visit with him at the embassy of Uzbekistan in early April to continue the discussion. An invitation to visit Uzbekistan in the fall was also extended.

Dr. Karimova is visiting the US as a fellow at NASA's East West Space Science Center at the University of Maryland, College Park. These fellows visit with the faculty here at the MITAC on a regular basis where they receive training in the concepts of telemedicine.

Visitors from NASA Headquarters

On March 23, 2001, Dr. Merrell and Mr. Doarn met with Arnauld Nicogossian, MD, Chief Medical and Health Officer for NASA Headquarters, Wing Chan, Ph.D., Senior Public Health Officer for the Office of the Chief Health and Medical Officer, and Calin Popovici, MD, Counselor with the Romanian Ministry of Health. Dr. Popovici is a fellow from NASA's East West Space Science Center at the University of Maryland. Dr. Merrell and Mr. Doarn discussed MITAC programs and issues with the guests. In addition, the assembled group discussed telemedicine and distance learning in Romania.

Mr. Doarn provided Drs. Nicogossian, Chan and Popovici a tour of the surgery labs on the 9th floor of Sanger Hall. A demonstration of Computer Motion's Zeus robot was provided by Susan Clary, RN. Dr. Nicogossian got comfortable at the controls of Zeus. Ms. Clary also provided a tour of the Minimally Invasive Surgery suite on the 5th floor of Main Hospital.

Visitors from Ecuador

The Mitac is engaged in an ongoing telemedicine testbed with the Cinterandes Foundation in Thaisa, Ecuador. Dr. Anita Praba-Egge is working closely with Dr. Juan Leon who is the provincial minister of health for the Morona-Santiago region of Ecuador, which includes the remote jungle village of Thaisa.

On January 4, 2001, Dr. Juan Leon and Vivianna Jaramillo, a medical student from Ecuador, visited with Dr. Merrell and Mr. Charles Doarn. Dr. Leon has been working closely with Dr. Merrell and Dr. Edgar Rodas, president of the Cinterandes Foundation. During Dr. Leon's visit he had an opportunity to discuss MITAC activities with Mr. Doarn and Mr. Harnett. In addition, Dr. Leon met with Dr. Rifat Latifi and Dr. David Marsland, Chair of Family Practice.

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