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Format: 04/23/2014
Format: 04/23/2014


Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Medical sector aims to showcase health care, city's role as trailblazer

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

By Luis Fabregas


Barely three weeks after President Obama announced Pittsburgh as host of the G-20 summit, a West Penn Hospital nursing instructor sent a letter to first lady Michelle Obama.

Would she be interested in touring a virtual hospital set up in Bloomfield to train health care workers, the June 18 letter asked, highlighting how urban youths come to the hospital to learn about health careers.

"Given the first lady's similar educational work and advocacy of student mentoring in the inner-city of Chicago, we thought this would be a program of interest to her," West Penn Allegheny spokesman Dan Laurent said.

There's no word from the White House whether Michelle Obama will come to Pittsburgh in September, and what her schedule would be if she does, but the invitation highlights how the region's medical community is eager to grab some of the spotlight during the Group of 20 meetings.

Over the past several weeks, hospital administrators, physicians and event planners have buzzed from meeting to meeting, trying to figure out the best way to trumpet the city's image as a medical trailblazer.

Will world leaders want to take a look at the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, where scientists are trying to rebuild damaged body parts such as fingers and bones? Or will they want to take a peek at the Hillman Cancer Center in Shadyside? How about a dinner at UPMC headquarters high atop the U.S. Steel Building?

"We're taking inventory of what we could do," said University of Pittsburgh Medical Center spokesman Paul Wood. "We're going to have thousands of guests in the city wondering why President Obama chose Pittsburgh in the first place, and one of the things we can highlight is how UPMC has become the economic driver for the city."

The task of selling the city as a health care leader shouldn't be tough. Its reputation as a medical mecca was sealed more than 50 years ago with the creation of the polio vaccine, and later with breakthroughs in organ transplantation and research on cancer and heart disease.

To read more, visit the Tribune-Review web site.

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