In this article we cover the work of Dr. Alejandro Cambiaso and his dedication to creating a Medical Tourism industry in the Dominican Republic.
Rather than focusing on his biography, our primary focus is the extensive effort he has put into Medical Tourism, best known globally as Medical Travel.
As a result, it would not be long before you can realize the passion, the dedication, and the drive that this Dominican MD projects through his actions.
As always, context provides a better understanding of the subject matter. So, how Alejandro Cambiaso ended up in the field of Medicine?
“Since I was a child I knew I would be a doctor. I went to medical school at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra in Santiago. Later, I specialized in Family Medicine at the Iberoamerican University -UNIBE- and Plaza de la Salud General Hospital -HGPS-, always identified in Preventive Medicine, said in a 2015 interview with Caribbean Health Magazine.
He also earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Health Center Management (UNIBE-Florida International University).
When questioned about how he started, he responded:
“I began my professional life working as a specialist in Family Medicine and as a Coordinator of private hospitalization at HGPS, serving as an invaluable experience to motivate my education in management, quality, and security of health services.”
Sources: HGPS and sandraehlert.com
He highlighted three initiatives from that phase:
- The opening of a Preventive Health Unit at the HGPS (featured above).
- HGPS International Department.
- The Dominican Health Tourism Association (ADTS), founded in 2012.
Of the latter, Dr. Cambiaso noted that the entity’s goal is to rank the Dominican Republic as a Health and Wellness Tourism destination in Latin America and the Caribbean.
“One of the first objectives of the ADTS was to create awareness about the importance and the opportunity that medical tourism represents to our country. We also need to improve the quality and the security of the health services for the benefit of local and international patients”.
Alejandro Cambiaso’s Timeline Leading the Dominican Health Tourism Association
We are going to review the most significant actions taken by this Dominican doctor in almost six years, from October 2012 to January 2018.
Dr. Cambiaso leading the efforts to develop a Medical Travel industry in the Dominican Republic.
Here is a description of almost all the agreements, events, alliances, TV appearances, and acknowledgments that have occurred in the mentioned time frame:
Renée-Marie Stephano visits the Dominican Republic
In October of 2012, Renée-Marie Stephano published a review of her visit to the Caribbean island in the Medical Tourism Magazine. She made a presentation at the HGPS exalting its services and the good fortune of the country for medical tourism.
“HGPS has been among the best hospital’s in the Dominican Republic for the last 15 years (…) international patients choose it because of its specialization in care and services. Some of their main services are preventative health, surgical services, oncology, nephrology, women’s health, joint replacement/orthopedics, adult and pediatric critical care, transplant, and plastic surgery”, as noted on the article authored in the Medical Tourism Magazine.
She also emphasized on the hospital’s recently opened international department: “From the moment the patients get in touch with the hospital, they make sure that all their medical needs are taken care of, preferences and cultural expectations, making them feel safe and protected.”
To know: Renée-Marie is the president and co-founder of the Medical Tourism Association®, Editor-in-chief of Medical Tourism Magazine® and the Health and Wellness Destination Guide Series of books. She is also the founder and CEO of Global Healthcare Resources, the leading global consulting and market solutions firm in Medical Tourism, Destination Medicine, Wellness Travel and Corporate Wellness. Read more about her at her website: Who is Renée-Marie Stephano?
Interview on a local TV channel
This interview is among the first ten TV appearances in which Dr. Cambiaso speaks about the subject.
Here, he mentioned that Health Tourism “is a global phenomenon with a market of (by 2012) more than 60 billion dollars, about 2.5% of global air travel, and yields the highest growth within the medical industry over the past five years”.
“Our country can greatly benefit from this tendency because of its strategic geographical location. We are close to the United States and Canada, and their people look for medical alternatives given the high cost and the long waiting lists”.
Note: For English subtitles: Go to CC-settings-subtitles-auto translate-English.
Months after, the ADTS published a video about some country features, types of services, and the benefits of getting treatment in the DR. The promotional video description reads:
“The Dominican Health Tourism Association is a nonprofit entity that promotes the Dominican Republic as an ideal place for health tourism, because of its high-quality, cost-effective medical, dental and wellness services, hospitality conditions, favoring the best practices of the sector and security of care. It promotes centers and specialists with the appropriate guarantees, accreditations, and certifications”.
Same guidelines apply to the video below for English subtitles.
“In response to the long waiting lists, the costs of medical and dental services and the lack of coverage to elective medical services, the Dominican Republic has come up with a highly-competitive offer to attend this segment with a value proposition that combines high quality, immediate attention, and prices,” mentions the commercial.
Latin-American Health Tourism Network
“We will work together with other countries of the region in exchanging experiences, fostering the development of standards, and training. We welcome initiatives to promoting quality and secure services to international patients”, explained Dr. Cambiaso in early 2013 about the inclusion of the country in the Latin-American Health Tourism Network (RedLAtS).
Why is this important?
RedLAtS is an international integration initiative of Latin-American institutions that develop Health Tourism, working systematically and committed to consolidating the positioning and regional visibility of Health and Wellness Tourism in the region.
Who’s in it:
- Medical and Dentistry Services of Medellin (Colombia)
- Chamber of Commerce of Cucuta (Colombia)
- Mexican Council of Medical Tourism Industry
- Global Forum of Medical Tourism of Mexico
- Export Foundation (Argentina)
- West Guatemala’s Health & Wellness Association
- Council for the International Promotion of Costa Rica’s Medicine (PROMED)
- Dominican Health Tourism Association
The Dominican Republic is the first Caribbean country to be part of this Health Tourism network.
The 1st International Health & Wellness Congress happened in October of 2013, at the Hilton Hotel in Santo Domingo.
Organized by the National Council of Free Zones (CNZFE) and backed by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the ADTS and other private and public entities, the event represented the first seed of a whole new era of this industry in the Dominican Republic.
“A recent study from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean showed that medical tourism has a substantial growth,” declared Jose del Castillo, president of the CNZFE and host. He noted the Dominican Republic’s potential and the possible creation of dozens of jobs. “Our main products to export are medical and pharmaceutical.”
First National Health Tourism Forum
“The country needs to take measures to prevent non-qualified professionals and health centers from putting the sustainable growth of Health Tourism at risk,” emphasized Dr. Julio Castaños Guzman, president of the Iberoamerican University and host of the medical event that took place on April 2015.
On this speech, Dr. Cambiaso explained that the forum’s strategic objective was to impulse the country’s competitiveness, develop public-private alliances, favor the creation of a regulatory framework, and a destination guide to rank the industry.
“Health and Wellness Tourism aligns with the President Danilo Medina‘s goal of welcoming 10 million tourists in the next ten years and has the capability of diversifying the tourism offer in the island, and eventually creating more jobs”, said Cambiaso.
A few months after the forum ADTS, UNIBE, and the MTA signed an academic agreement to offer academic training in Health Tourism, including those who want to become a Certified Medical Tourism Professional (CMTP).
Considered as the most prestigious university in the country, UNIBE will also provide international certification programs for Health & Wellness centers, hotels. Later, graduate and master programs in the field.
Legal Security for Health Tourism in Santo Domingo
One of the essential actions to upgrading Health Tourism in Santo Domingo was the interinstitutional agreement held with the Center for Alternative Resolution of Controversies of the Santo Domingo Chamber of Commerce and Production and the ADTS.
The Cornerstone of the Signup
“Both entities will promote arbitration for the resolution of conflicts in Medical Tourism, providing legal security to the value chain through an efficient and fast policy, for the solution of disputes according to the global market demands,” as written in the document.
- Arbitration forum
- Reliable and expert arbitrators
- Counseling and assistance
- Transparency and handiness
- Easy and discrete way of solving disputes between local and foreign investors, consumers, and users of Medical Tourism in the country
The summer of 2015 was not only about the perfect beach weather in the DR. As if that wasn’t enough.
ADTS and Accreditation Canada International signed an agreement that grants up to 25% discount on international accreditation programs.
According to their website, “accreditation provides you with an independent, third-party assessment of your organization using standards built upon best practices used and validated by organizations just like yours around the world. Is an ongoing process of assessing health and social services organizations against standards of excellence to identify what we have and what needs to be improved.”
International Patient Services Certification for HGPS
Under the leadership of Dr. Cambiaso and the hard work of the staff, HGPS International Department became the first in the nation to obtain the International Patient Services Certification, awarded by the MTA.
“Medical Tourism is no easy job, and it’s not always about giving a good price but rather a high-quality treatment. Our main goal is to provide quality, security, and results”, said Dr. Cambiaso when receiving the standard.
The HGPS International Department got evaluated in the following:
- Corporate transparency
- Operative infrastructure
- Quality and security of Health Services
- Risk Management
- International patient services
- Post-op education and communication
- Cultural sensibility
- Continuity of care coordination
The Dominican Republic Health and Wellness Destination Guide
Authored and co-authored by Renée-Marie Stephano and Dr. Alejandro Cambiaso, respectively, the first edition of the guide appeared at the 8th World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress (WMTC) in Orlando, Florida.
As a Medical Tourism Association publishing, the guide provides information that certifies the Dominican Republic as a trusted international destination.
The country became the first in Latin America to have such guide, topping Mexico, Costa Rica and Colombia.
Are you curious to read it or purchase? If so, just click on the following links:
At the gala, the President of the MTA distinguished Dr. Cambiaso as “Leader of the Year,” because of his diligence to establishing the Dominican Republic into a popular Caribbean destination for health and wellness seekers.
After the recognition at the world’s medical tourism event, Dr. Cambiaso received congratulations from the President of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina.
In a letter made public, Medina emphasized the doctor’s actions towards establishing the country as a reputed international Health & Wellness Tourism Destination.
“We wish you the best in your administration as President of the Dominican Health Tourism Association, carried along being International and Preventive Chief of Services at the Hospital General Plaza de la Salud,” ended the letter published by the President’s Office.
Ediciones Cabrer, a Tourism Specialized Media Group that runs Bohio Magazine, the National Tourism Guide La Cotica, regional maps “Find Yourself DR,” and Bohio News website, became part of the Health & Wellness Tourism movement.
“Being part of this kind of initiative is something to be proud of, which contributes to a much solid projection of our country as a destination,” agreed Reynaldo Caminero, head of the publishing company.
The strategic alliance seeks to work towards the promotion of the sector as a niche.
Consular Corps and Publishing Agreement
As an end-of-year high note, Dr. Alejandro Cambiaso and Sonia Villanueva de Brouwer, consul of the Principality of Monaco in the Dominican Republic and Dean of the Consular Corps, signed an inter-institutional agreement to work together in the promotion of the Caribbean country as a destination for Health Tourism and investment.
The understanding included the joint promotion of the destination guide, a publication of the MTA that endorses the country as an international health destination and will serve to orientate the citizens of the 70 countries represented by the accredited consular body.
Ms. Villanueva de Brouwer said that the entity she represents would manage the recruitment of recognized international investors who intend to participate in the new medical tourism and retirement tourism projects in the country or invest in existing projects that require expanding their reach and modernize its installed capacity.
2016 started great!
Dr. Cambiaso signed another high-value agreement; this time with the Dominican Republic Export & Investment Center.
Both institutions agreed to promote foreign investment to Health Tourism, with the development of new projects and the upgrade of the already installed infrastructure and technology.
- Encourage the creation of jobs
- Best practices
- Strengthen the quality and security of health services
3rd International Health & Wellness Tourism Congress
Categorized as the biggest event of the Caribbean, this edition represented the sum of all the work led by Dr. Cambiaso, the ADTS, the Dominican Government, private institutions, and all the people involved in the Health & Wellness Tourism in the Dominican Republic.
Top-level foreign representatives of the Health industry included:
- Matt Stanton, Senior Director of Telemedicine at the Cleveland Clinic (USA)
- Dr. Antonio Briceño, CEO Health Services of America (USA)
- Nelson Arboleda, CDC Director for the Dominican Republic (USA)
- Andrea Dacquino, Executive Director of Business Development and International Marketing at New York Presbyterian (USA)
- Pablo Castillo, CEO Medbric, Inc (Canada)
- Leslee Thompson, President & CEO, Accreditation Canada
- Massimo Manzi, Executive Director of Promed (Costa Rica)
- Dr. Adolfo Moreno, Director of the Medicine and Dentistry Services Cluster (Colombia)
Here are some of the 53 sponsors:
- Medical Tourism Association
- Accreditation Canada
- Banco Popular Dominicano
- Casa de Campo
- Cleveland Clinic
- Consular Corps in the Dominican Republic
- Dominican Republic’s Hotels & Tourism Association
- Espaillat Cabral Institute
- Iberoamerican University (UNIBE)
- International Medical Group Punta Cana
- Grupo Rescue
- M del Toro Lawyers
- Ministry of Tourism of the Dominican Republic
- Ministry of Public Health of the Dominican Republic
- New York Presbyterian Global Services
The list of attendees and the sponsors speaks for itself about the magnitude of the 3rd International Health & Wellness Tourism Congress.
Legal Security for Health Tourism in Puerto Plata
Similar to the agreement signed in Santo Domingo, a week after the Congress the ADTS inked with the Center of Alternative Resolution of Controversies from the Chamber of Commerce of Puerto Plata, one of the best Health Tourism destinations in the country.
The CRC of Puerto Plata agreed to:
- Collaborate with the ADTS by providing counseling and assistance to their affiliates about arbitrage, conciliation, and mediation through a training program.
- The program will promote alternative methods of resolution of controversies.
On their end, the ADTS agreed to:
- Encourage companies and users to utilize the alternative methods offered by the CRC by adding an arbitral clause in their contracts.
Welcome Saint Marteen!
Dr. Cambiaso kept his pen busy with the sign of another agreement. Now welcoming SZV Social & Health Insurances from Saint Maarten which agreed to let their insurers’ receive treatment at the HGPS.
“We are very pleased with the professionalism and the quality of the medical services that HGPS provides to our clients. HGPS will continue to be part of our medical referrals abroad, and this signup reflects our strategy to secure quality treatment to our clients in the region. Our focus is to make sure medical assistance is available at Saint Marteen and if this is not possible then close from home, working together as partners of HGPS.”
Dominican Republic Health and Wellness Tourism Destination Guide (Second Edition)
Dr. Cambiaso’s best three quotes:
- “This second guide represents the Health sector’s answer and a tourism offer diversification towards the presidential goal of welcoming 10 million visitors by 2022,” firmly opened Dr. Cambiaso at the launch on August 1st.
- “Health Tourism is here to stay given that it found solid ground on the experienced tourism industry, in a nation with beautiful landscapes, great connectivity, and talented healthcare professionals that can perform cost-effective and attractive procedures.”
- “The approval of the Health Tourism guide has great importance because it promotes the transfer of technology, best practices, international certifications and accreditations, and a legal framework to lay out clear rules.”
Find the guide here:
The 10th World Medical Tourism and Global Healthcare Congress
Run by the MTA and held on Oct 02 – 04, 2017 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, California, the Congress was another window for Dr. Cambiaso to show the virtues of getting treatment in the Dominican Republic.
The Dominican specialist was also a speaker at the WMTC, which gathers Health & Wellness Tourism leaders, international insurance companies, auto-financed, airlines, medical facilitators, and hospital and government representatives.
As an expert, he participated in the panel that debated new trends and products, highlighting the progress of robotic surgery, invasive cardiology, oncology, and preventive medicine in the Dominican Republic.
Cambiaso also pointed out that “we must also work fully in the Wellness niche. Worldwide it represents more than 600 billion dollars”.
Competitiveness Agreement for Health Tourism in the Dominican Republic
Rafael Paz, Executive Director of National Council of Competitiveness, made it very clear when speaking about Health Tourism:
“The chain of value that pushes medical tourism must be of high quality, the reason for which it must have precise data to favoring investment and develop appropriate regulations and strategies, in the realm of a public-private alliance.”
Paz identified six priorities:
- Excellent and strategic geographic position
- +25 daily flights from the United States
- Specialized and highly qualified medical centers;
- No waiting cycle
- Lower service costs
- A favorable environment for recovery
Cambiaso firmly believes that the agreement promotes competition based on quality and security of the offer, one where innovation plays a lead role.
The agreement included the urge for institutional reforms and policies to boost competitiveness in the country, and creating mechanisms to impulse the growth of this industry.
Diplomatic Promotion of Health and Wellness Tourism
On October of 2017, Dr. Cambiaso signed what we consider the most significant agreement for the Health & Wellness Tourism industry: A commitment by the Ministry of Foreign Relations of the Dominican Republic
According to the arrangement, all embassies, consulates, and accredited commercial offices abroad will support the ADTS activities, broadcast the Dominican Republic Health & Wellness Tourism destination guide, to “orientate about medical improvements and services novelties of the ADTS affiliates so that Health Tourists can access to precise information.”
- Encourage foreign investment
- Creation of jobs
- Economic development of the Dominican Republic
- Enforce the promotion of the country as a Health Tourism and high-quality retirement destination
- Offer competitive prices to people around the world who seek medical treatment
Alejandro Cambiaso on TV
To add up to the extensive positive record of events, agreements, congresses and more, the driven Dr. Cambiaso will be leading a TV segment broadcasted in the United States.
The producer of Santo Domingo Invita, Negro Santos, defended that it’s an excellent opportunity to reach the Dominican community and other Latin American nationalities into traveling to the DR for Health Tourism services.
Starting on a weekly basis, it’ll air through Telexitos, a partner of Telemundo and NBC. Their most prominent audiences are in New York, Miami, Boston, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
How about ending the year on a high note!
2018: A Harvesting Year
In a statement given in January to a local newspaper, Dr. Cambiaso revealed that according to an ADTS data, between 25 and 30 thousand people traveled to the Dominican Republic for Health & Wellness services.
The expected increase is between 15% and 20% increase in 2018.
Based on the data they manage, the most famous health services in the country are:
- General surgery
- Dental implants
- Fertility treatments
- Plastic surgery
- Weight loss
As achievements, he mentioned the agreement with the diplomatic community and the second edition of the destination guide as international publishing that serves to potential health tourists.
At the launch of the Dominican Republic Health and Wellness Tourism destination guide, Dr. Alejandro Cambiaso announced that in September ADTS would be hosting the 4th International Health & Wellness Tourism Congress.
According to the Congress website, the 4th International Health Tourism and Wellness Congress is the main activity in the sector throughout the Caribbean and will provide a platform for multi-sectoral integration, business development, and great investment opportunities.”
The main topics are:
- Health Tourism at a global and regional level.
- The culture of quality and continuous improvement.
- Innovation and Competitiveness: regulatory framework, incentives, and productive chains.
- Human resources in Health and Tourism.
- Facilities for local and international investment in the Dominican Republic.
- Innovations in the insurance market, financial sector, and free zones.
- The Wellness industry.
- Communities for retirees.
- Marketing in Health Tourism.
- Advances in Medical and Pharmaceutical technology.
- Second opinions and referrals overseas.
Personal Final Thoughts
As the Editor-in-Chief of DoHealthWell®, I enjoyed the whole process of investigating and writing about Dr. Alejandro Cambiaso. I was amazed at how many things he could accomplish in all these years.
Thanks to him and his team, we are in an ideal state to become the number one medical travel destination in the Caribbean and Latin America.
As you all have witnessed, Dr. Alejandro Cambiaso is a hard worker, and it’s clear that he genuinely enjoys what he is doing.
There should be no doubt at all that he fits the professional profile to lead such a complex sector in the Dominican Republic.