It was a Wednesday afternoon at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center and a room full of physicians representing the spectrum of specialties were deep in discussion about an image showing a breast cancer diagnosis on the screen before them.
The doctors were at the hospital’s monthly tumor board meeting, but this one was different because the diagnosis belonged to a patient being treated at Tijuana General Hospital, and her two doctors were at the meeting via a computer connection that allowed them to attend from their location in Mexico. Together, the group discussed the best treatment for the complex case, drawing from its collective knowledge and expertise.
The idea to hold international tumor board meetings sprang from a new relationship between Douglas & Nancy Barnhart Cancer Center at Sharp Chula Vista and Baja California health officials.
Through a partnership with Las Damas de San Diego, which aims to improve health care in Hispanic communities on both sides of the border, representatives from the Barnhart Cancer Center have made frequent trips to Tijuana to provide outreach, education and screening at a variety of events, including an inaugural cervical cancer congress and breast cancer congress.
Since last fall, Sharp-affiliated physicians have presented on a variety of topics to a total of more than 750 event attendees, represented Sharp Chula Vista in cancer awareness activities at Xolos de Tijuana soccer matches, and visited Tijuana hospitals to meet face to face with local physicians.
In March, the Barnhart Cancer Center welcomed Baja California’s Secretary of Health — Dr. Miguel Antonio Osuna Millán — and other leaders from Tijuana’s medical community for an afternoon of tours, education and collaboration — all in an effort to improve patients’ access to high-quality medical care.
"During talks with our colleagues in Mexico, we learned that physicians there often have complicated cases that require technology and systems not available to them," said Dr. Siavash Jabbari, a board-certified radiation oncologist affiliated with the Barnhart Cancer Center. "We thought, ‘How can we help care for patients in this other community of ours?’ We know that many of our patients live in Mexico and cross the border for treatment. It’s the right thing to do to care for all the members of our community, whether they’re in the United States or not."
For More Information
If you or a loved one would like to become a patient at the Barnhart Cancer Center, please visit Appointment Information or call 619-502-5851. To find a Sharp-affiliated doctor, search for a Sharp Chula Vista oncologist or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm.