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Mayo Clinic and Grameen Healthcare join forces to launch demonstration project

ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Mayo Clinic and Grameen Healthcare are exploring opportunities to benefit global, underserved populations by leveraging Mayo Clinic's knowledge and expertise in health care and Grameen's capabilities in effective, low-cost distribution models. A multi-disciplinary team from Mayo Clinic has just returned from a site visit to Bangladesh where it was agreed that following an initial demonstration project in Bangladesh in 2009-2010, the two organizations would investigate additional endeavors in Bangladesh as well as the application of learned, low-cost health care delivery models in the United States.

VIDEO ALERT: Additional audio and video resources, including excerpts from an interview with Dr. Santhi Vege describing the collaboration, are available on the Mayo Clinic News Blog (

The initial project of the Mayo ClinicGrameen Healthcare collaboration, led by Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist Santhi Swaroop Vege, M.D., will focus on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of parasites, a common and persistent problem in developing countries. Mayo Clinic will offer clinical oversight and expertise, while the project will be carried out primarily by Grameen Healthcare workers in Bangladesh. The pilot project will allow the two organizations to collaboratively identify additional needs in Bangladesh that might be served by Mayo Clinic.

It will also offer experience in lower cost health care delivery models that could be applied in the United States. Translating these experiences to the underinsured in the U.S. is a key interest of Mayo Clinic.

Grameen Bank, founded by Nobel Peace Laureate Muhammad Yunus, has 7.7 million borrowers in Bangladesh. The bank uses a trust-based approach to lend to the poorest of the poor. Based on lessons learned over 30 years through the Grameen Bank, Grameen Healthcare has built 48 physician-led rural primary care clinics that have achieved 93 percent operational sustainability without the need for any subsidies or loans, through a combination of a micro-health insurance plan, payment at the point of service, pharmaceutical sales and lab tests.

"This collaboration allows our organizations to pursue our shared strategic priorities and vision to improve the health of populations around the world," says Denis Cortese, M.D., president and CEO of Mayo Clinic." Grameen has been successful in implementing low-cost distribution models in banking, which benefit the very poor. We are hopeful that together, using Mayo Clinic's knowledge of health care and effective models of care, we can leverage the same concepts of these simple and highly effective distribution models to teach prevention, diagnose disease and deliver care in a low-cost way, both in the developing world and in the United States." Future collaborations might involve the sharing of Mayo Clinic health information and knowledge via cell phones or other technologies to rural communities and health care providers in the developing world; global research initiatives exploring the cause, prevention, and treatment of chronic diseases; and training of Grameen health care workers.


Contact: Heidi McLeod
Mayo Clinic

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