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MEDICC’s Community Partnerships for Health Equity (CPHE) facilitate transformative learning in Cuba for leaders of US vulnerable communities, who gain insights from Cuba’s best practices and outcomes to innovate for improved health and health equity back home.

The CPHE Network includes 11 sites throughout the country, comprising 229 participants representing community organizations, clinics and academic institutions.

MEDICC launched its first CPHE in 2005, providing the opportunity for low-resource communities in the US and their partners to observe first-hand Cuba’s working models of health.  Using the right to health as a starting point, MEDICC’s approach is place-based and collaborative, each CPHE focusing on the issues local leaders decide as most important for their communities’ health and  equity.  Sites include communities in South Los Angeles, Oakland, Kern County and San Diego, California; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Bronx, New York; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Akron, Ohio; and the Four Corners Region of the Navajo Nation.

What can leaders in US vulnerable communities learn from Cuba?

MEDICC helps each CPHE choose  Cuban health models and approaches the leaders decide are most relevant to their community’s priorities, many of the principles aligned with ones underpinning the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While in Cuba, participants visit clinics and other public health institutions, as well as schools, community centers and health-promotion programs.


Thus far, CPHE participants have selected these key concepts of Cuba’s health system as most relevant to their health equity work:

  • Emphasis on prevention
  • Clinical health care and public health joined together
  • Neighborhood access to health care
  • Local and continuous data collection
  • Health education targeted to community needs
  • Cross-sector coalitions
  • Active community engagement
  • Socially accountable medical training
What can leaders in US vulnerable communities learn from Cuba?
Bringing it Back Home: CPHE 2.0

Bringing it Back Home CPHE 2.0

After the exchange in Cuba, MEDICC works with a coordinator in each community to capture insights from Cuba that may lead to local innovation towards improved health. Our CPHE 2.0 program provides seed grants to support community initiatives inspired and informed by Cuba, and offers site exchanges among CPHEs.

CPHE Network

The accomplishments of the Community Partnerships for Health Equity demonstrate that Cuba’s models and principles of health care and health access are relevant, even in a context as different from Cuba’s as our own. The CPHE national network allows participants to more broadly share insights from Cuba’s experience and their own results, by means of a listserv, site visits, webinars and annual Network meetings. Joined by local and national organizations and US graduates of Havana’s Latin American School of Medicine, CPHE contributes unique experiences and fresh perspectives to the movement towards health equity in the US, as CPHE leaders actively work together to shift the balance towards health for all.

CPHE Network

Consider a  CPHE program in your community!
Contact Diane Appelbaum, MEDICC’s Community Partnerships for Health Equity Director