In 1928, President Calvin Coolidge arrived in Cuba on the deck of a battleship. In 2016, President Obama landed in the capital city of Havana. In the 88 years between their presidencies, no sitting U.S. president set foot on Cuban soil. With recent political discussions and leadership changes, relations have warmed between the United States and Cuba, reestablishing the exchange of business, commerce, communication, and tourism. 

In February 2017, ONS will sponsor a delegation to Cuba to connect, learn, and establish long-term relationships with the Cuban oncology community. From February 20–25, 2017, ONS President Susan Schneider, PhD, RN, AOCN®, ACNS-BC, FAAN, and other ONS members will travel to Havana, where they’ll hold panel discussions with the Cuban Nursing Society to understand the role and scope of nurses in Cuba’s healthcare system. Members will also visit the National Institute of Oncology and Radiobiology (INOR) to learn about inpatient and outpatient cancer care throughout the country. A local hospital visit is also on the schedule, where ONS delegates will meet Cuban staff nurses and breast cancer specialists from INOR to discuss symptom management practices in Cuba. 

To gain a better understanding of how the Cuban oncology community operates, ONS members will also visit the National Center for Medical Sciences Information to discover how the Cuban government finances the country’s cancer care and treatments. ONS delegates will also have the opportunity to interact with community-based doctors and nurses through other planned clinical visits. Before returning to the United States, ONS delegates will visit the Finlay Institute to learn more about new cancer treatments being developed in Cuba. 

ONS is currently looking for members interested in broadening their professional horizons and connecting with international colleagues in Cuba in February 2017. Take advantage of this opportunity to expand your worldview by enveloping yourself in the cancer community of another country. As the relationship between Cuba and the United States continues to grow, healthcare professionals may play a big part in bringing the two nations together. Participants will also have the option to bring a guest along. Additionally, participants can extend their stay to explore the tourist offerings of Cuba. Learn more about how you can enroll in the delegation.