A Report from the 3rd Annual Center for Medical Tourism Research Conference

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Prepared by Christine A. Sandoval, University of the Incarnate Word, Undergraduate Student The 3rd Annual Center for Medical Tourism Research (CMTR) Conference took place Feb. 13-15, 2012, in San Antonio, Texas. This year’s conference featured associate professor Dr. Tricia Johnson from Rush University, who served as the keynote speaker. Johnson’s presentation focused on inbound travel to the United States. Data suggests that both inbound and outbound health travel decreased in 2009. Now that there are more hospitals in the U.S. that cater to international patients, the cases appear to be more complex and there is higher profit from treating international patients. “For every dollar spent by Americans on healthcare abroad, $5.64 is spent by international patients within the U.S.” Assistant professor of Law Nathan Cortez from Southern Methodist University (SMU) was also a featured speaker. Cortez spoke about the legal risks of cross-border healthcare. His presentations included why medical tourism patients should care about the legal aspects, the patients’ rights to sue overseas, and what can be done as rights coming from the private sector and public sector. Professor of Anthropology Dr. Marcia Inhorn also served as a guest speaker. Inhorn’s topic of discussion was on reproductive tourism, which focused on infertility in the Middle East. Her presentation included the usage of in vitro fertilization (IVF), bio-ethical dilemmas, religious views, adoptive processes, and the commercial market for “sex cells.” Perhaps one of the most anticipated sessions at the conference was the presentation by Ph.D. candidate Elliott Bowen from Binghamton University. Bowen’s presentation entitled, “Making the ‘Mecca of the American Syphilitic’ Medical Tourism, Syphilis, and Hot Springs, Arkansas, 1890-1930,” focused on how medical tourism is not a new and controversial topic. His presentation explained how Hot Springs, Ark., served as the go-to health resort for those in search of the cure for syphilis. Patients who went for treatment didn’t have to conceal their disease or be ashamed. Instead, they found medical wisdom. Being a student, it was an amazing opportunity to be able to be in the presence of many professionals in the medical tourism industry, and to be able to learn all the new cutting-edge information. According to director/founder of the Center for Medical Tourism Research, Dr. David G. Vequist IV, if you’re considering attending next year’s conference be ready to travel to Germany. To learn more about the Center for Medical Tourism Research¬†click here.¬†

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