Diplomats View High-Tech Health at Ronald Reagan Medical Center

Diplomats View High-Tech Health at Ronald Reagan Medical Center

Experience America participants get a look at Robo Doc, a human patient simulation program, at the new Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

The International Institute hosts a visit by ambassadors and top envoys to the United States from 42 countries.

A group of four ambassadors high-fived after successfully defibrillating a mannequin.

This article was first published in UCLA Today Online.

By Elizabeth Kivowitz

A GROUP OF SOME 70 diplomats representing 42 countries got an up-close look Monday, June 23, at the high-tech innovations that help make UCLA's new Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center a stand-out, state-of-the-art hospital.

The VIP tour of the hospital, which is set to open June 29, was part of a new program, Experience America, designed to take foreign diplomats out beyond Washington, D.C.'s Beltway to connect with people and places all over the U.S. U.S. Chief of Protocol Nancy G. Brinker organized the program to expose diplomats, who may otherwise rarely leave the national’s capital, to the nation's businesses, technology, health care and environmental practices.

The new hospital was one stop on the program's first West Coast trip for the diplomats and their spouses.

After listening to introductions by Vice Chancellor of Research Roberto Peccei, Dean of the School of Medicine Gerald S. Levey and CEO of the UCLA Hospital System David Feinberg, the group saw a demonstration of the human patient simulation program, called Robo Doc; visited the Emergency Department; and toured the neurological floor where they learned about the latest in MRI and CT scans.

Overall, the group seemed impressed with what they saw. His Excellency Zoran Jolevski, the ambassador of the Republic of Macedonia, was especially taken with the building’s design, which was planned to withstand a greater-than-8.0 Richter Magnitude earthquake with no significant structural failures. Jolevski was born in Skopje, a town rocked by a major earthquake in 1963 which killed 1,000 people and left 120,000 homeless.

"I am astonished that this building was made to withstand earthquakes and these kind of situations, and that arrangements have been made for patients, the doctors, staff, and their families," the ambassador said.

The Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center was built to replace a 1951 hospital building that suffered damage during the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The new healthcare facility is one of the first hospitals in the state to meet the latest California seismic safety standards.

His Excellency Keerteecoomar Ruhee, ambassador of the Republic of Mauritius, was impressed with the hospital's neurosurgery unit and wanted to know whether the medical center was involved with telemedicine.

Happy with their experience, one group of four ambassadors high-fived after successfully defibrillating a mannequin.

"We are delighted to host this cultural exchange between UCLA and representatives from around the world and be able to showcase our new world-class medical center," said Nick Entrikin, acting vice provost of the International Institute, which is hosting the visit.

The group will be in Los Angeles until June 24 and then travel to the Silicon Valley and San Francisco.

Published: Tuesday, June 24, 2008