A message to the ProCor network
Dear ProCor members, friends, colleagues,
ProCor is this month celebrating a 15th anniversary. In this time there have been tremendous changes in the global landscape of cardiovascular prevention. We've made significant progress since we first began sounding the alarm over 20 years ago about the oncoming tsunami of death and disability. The most recent obvious example is the United Nations High-level Meeting on Non-communicable Diseases.
Over this time there have been equally significant developments in technology. To highlight but the most obvious: The deployment of mobile communications in the developing world is proceeding at a pace that promises to make the mobile device the main access for information in most of the world.
Meanwhile the economic crisis has made an expansion of the work of ProCor difficult to fund. At present, ProCor is in no position to lead a global struggle for preventive, socially oriented health care even as it has become clear that the provision of information alone is not going to have the impact it might once have had.
Notwithstanding our modest successes, the "high-tech, low-touch" system of medical care driven by the US has continued to represent the "gold standard" for many people around the world, not least in the developing world.
While this is justified in many instances, the many undisputed successes of medical technology have created an undeserved halo effect over other treatments, many of which are ineffective. We have tried to highlight this issue in our recent Avoidable Care conference, which was an outgrowth of our longstanding tradition of trying to do more for the patient while doing less to the patient.
It is in this context that we are going to be reviewing ProCor's mission and focus in the coming months as we decide our strategic direction in the midst of the new realities.
We are aware that a significant factor in shaping the organization and focus of health care globally is growing corporate dominance. This promotes a costly technology based hospital sickness care system and de-emphasizes low cost primary prevention focused health policies. For poor and developing countries such a direction is catastrophic. For rich countries such policies foster gross inequalities and escalating expenditures.
The world needs to confront the reality of shrinking resources and expanding needs. We face a choice: Promote a new kind of medicine which blends the best of population-based epidemiology with the best of one-on-one clinical care; or pursue our current trajectory to its unhappy end of rising bankruptcy and deteriorating health.
We welcome comments and contributions to our deliberations as we chart our course for the next year and beyond.
President, Lown Cardiovascular Research Foundation
Chairman Emeritus, Lown Cardiovascular Research Foundation
Date Posted: 25 May 2012