Last month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) entered into a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Cuba’s Ministry of Public Health.

The MOU establishes coordination across a broad spectrum of public health issues, including:

  • Healthcare systems and public health management;
  • Quality management and patient safety systems in hospitals and outpatient settings;
  • Health information technology;
  • Communicable and non-communicable diseases;
  • International health regulations; and
  • Biomedical research and development, clinical trials, and medical product regulation.

The MOU also provides that “[f]or each area of mutual cooperation identified,” the U.S. and Cuba intend to “identify an appropriate entity to lead the practical implementation of activities.”  As the two countries continue to finalize arrangements to strengthen their collaboration in these and other scientific and health areas, we expect significant opportunities to arise for international healthcare partnerships between U.S. providers and Cuba.

The execution of the MOU also coincides with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s announcement last week selecting eight U.S. airlines to begin scheduled flights between Atlanta, Charlotte, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York City, Orlando, and Tampa and Havana as early as this fall.