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A healthy partnership

Dear Editor:Through the generous support of many local individuals and businesses, especially the Aspen Valley Medical Foundation, The Buster Foundation, Orthopedic Associates of Aspen & Glenwood, Aspen Sister Cities, Aspen Foundation for Sports Medicine, Education & Research (AFSMER), Aspen Valley Hospital, a diverse delegation of medical professionals from the Roaring Fork Valley will be traveling to Bariloche, Argentina from April 21 to May 3 to participate in the third annual medical exchange program. This program is dedicated to improving patient care at the Ramón Carillo Hospital. The Ramón Carillo Hospital is a public hospital faced with the daunting task of providing medical care for a large and mostly indigent population with declining support from local or national government since Argentina’s economic crisis in 2001.Along with working to improve medical care at the Ramón Carillo Hospital and participating in a cultural exchange, the delegation will present new medical research at the third annual international meeting of medical professionals in Bariloche on April 24 and 25. Several members of the delegation will participate in a community outreach research project that will be drawing blood from 1500 community members to perform heart disease screenings to find out the rate of heart disease among the indigenous people living in Bariloche. The results of this study will provide a better understanding of what percentage of the population suffers from heart disease and will direct the group on how to educate the community with strategies on how to avoid heart disease.Many of the physicians traveling to Bariloche will perform surgeries and demonstrate modern surgical techniques. Some of the delegation will be attending meetings to finalize the by-laws and nominate board members of the Fundación Médica Aspen-Bariloche, a new nonprofit organization that is being started by members of the Ramón Carillo Hospital. The delegation will also be meeting with the United States ambassador to Argentina and Dr. Miguel Ayerz of Hospital Italiano in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to discuss the importance of this program and to seek to increase government funding to the Ramón Carillo Hospital.The diverse delegation of medical professionals and community members includes: Tito Liotta, MD; N. Lindsay Harris, MD; Mark Purnell, MD; Jason Rolling, MD; Lee Lee von Stade, MD; Tom Higginbotham, MD; Ejnar Eriksson, MD; Eric Willsky, MD; Robert Christensen, DDS; Rachel Shuck, RN; Krista Fox, OT; Julie Puchkoff, MS, CSCS; Drew Larson, BSME, AFSMER Director of Research; Tom Marcotte, Sales Consultant for Synthes; Laura Pritchard, AFSMER Director of Education; and Griff Smith, Aspen Sister Cities.Thank you to the many generous individuals and organizations that have made this sister cities medical exchange program possible. A special thanks to all the people who are working hard and giving their time to help improve the medical care at the Ramón Carillo Hospital in Bariloche, Argentina!Drs. Mark Purnell and Tito Liotta, MD, Orthopedic Associates & AFSMERGriff Smith, Aspen Sister Cities


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