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At Harvard Medical International, Changes Afoot


Harvard Medical International (HMI), a nonprofit subsidiary of Harvard Medical School that provides medical consulting services to international clients, may be facing major changes.

In the organization's 2007 annual report, released last month, acting president and CEO Andrew A. Jeon said HMI spent the year "working on our own strategy for the future" and would continue "to explore new models." The Harvard Crimson reported today that the medical school planned to spin off HMI to Partners Healthcare, the hospital system founded by the Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. Officials at HMI referred questions to the University news office, which would not comment on the matter.

Harvard Medical International was founded in 1994, when Daniel C. Tosteson was dean of the medical school. HMI's first president, clinical professor of anaesthesia Robert K. Crone, was succeeded by Jeon in November. According to its website, HMI has a staff of several dozen employees and an annual budget of $21 million, funded with revenue from its programs, rather than from the University. Since its inception, it has developed more than 50 programs, in more than 30 countries across five continents.

The website lists more than two dozen projects currently under way. For instance, HMI is providing advice and input on the design and operation of a medical school at Alfaisal University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It is supporting the development and implementation of a quality-improvement program at Diagnostic and Therapeutic Center of Athens Hygeia in Greece. It has a partnership with National Taiwan University College of Medicine that includes medical-student exchanges and visiting faculty fellowships. At Wockhardt Hospitals in India, HMI has helped develop facilities and clinical programs and assisted in a performance-improvement plan that led to the hospital network's international accreditation. And in its highest-profile project, HMI is advising on the development of Dubai Healthcare City, which aims to become a regional and global hub for healthcare, medical education, and life-science research.

A full report will appear in the May-June issue of Harvard Magazine.