Introducing iCons in Medicine

Center for International Rehabilitation Launches Global Telemedicine Program that Circumvents Barriers to Care and Focuses Initial Efforts on Healing Suffering in Iraq

“iCons in Medicine,” an Internet-based volunteer alliance connecting medically underserved populations with physicians worldwide, to be formally introduced at May 23, 2008 meeting attended by Iraqi Minister of Health

Chicago, Ill. — The Center for International Rehabilitation (CIR), together with the Chicago Medical Society (CMS), the National Arab American Medical Association (NAAMA), and the Iraqi Medical Sciences Association (IMSA) today announces the launch of International Consultants in Medicine (iCons in Medicine), a telemedicine program that uses the Internet to connect health care providers in remote and medically underserved areas with a network of committed volunteer specialty physicians who act as consultants on difficult cases.

iCons in Medicine will be officially unveiled May 23 at a meeting to be held at Northwestern University in Chicago and attended by Dr. Salih Al Hasnawi, Minister of Health of the Republic of Iraq. The daylong conference, organized by a committee of worldwide leaders in the telemedicine field, is an appropriate venue to introduce iCons in Medicine given that a special focus for outreach during the program’s first year will be Iraq and other countries in the Middle East. Program organizers believe Icons in Medicine will build bridges and foster ties within and around that fractured region by making the highest quality medical expertise readily accessible via available technology and without regard to religion, race or politics.

Volunteers from the Chicago Medical Society, the National Arab American Medical Association and other medical organizations from around the world who staff iCons in Medicine have agreed to provide free assistance and consultation on a minimum of three cases per year; the first year alone, the program expects to provide more than 1,000 free consultations to physicians in the Middle East and around the world.

Participants in iCons in Medicine will be available to provide in depth information about the program and the state of health care in the Middle East at a press briefing on May 22 from 4 to 5 p.m. at CIR’s offices, 211 East Ontario, Suite 300, Chicago.

The May 23 meeting, “Telemedicine Support for the Iraqi Health Sector: Building Bridges Through Humanitarian Relief,” sponsored by CIR, CMS, NAAMA and IMSA will begin at 8:30 a.m. with a two-hour plenary session in Baldwin Auditorium, Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center at Northwestern University, that is open to the press. During the session, representatives of CIR, which developed iCons in Medicine, will discuss the groundbreaking program in depth.

“We are looking forward to unveiling what we believe is a highly innovative approach to humanitarian relief that brings the best of care together with the latest technology,” said Dr. William K. Smith, President of CIR, “We also hope to learn directly from the Iraqis ways in which iCons in Medicine can help improve the quality and availability of health care in the region.”

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