Freed Directs Expansion of Services for International Patients


t’s a small world—but it can seem enormous when you live outside of the United States and are trying to find the best medical care for you and your loved ones. That’s when you talk to Maria Freed.

Freed is the new director of the Miller School of Medicine’s International Health Center (IHC), and it’s her job to connect patients from abroad with physicians in the Miller School. “We understand that the UM/Jackson medical complex can be daunting to outsiders, and we are here to help facilitate their care,” Freed says.

Freed joined the Miller School in October after serving as the administrator of the CyberKnife Center of Miami and of Palm Beach. She has a master’s degree in health services administration, which will come in handy as the IHC looks to expand its services. The center presently helps about 3,000 patients per year, primarily from the Caribbean and Latin America, and is looking to help many more.

Each year Miller School physicians make hundreds of presentations and speeches at meetings and conferences around the world. Many of these physicians are remembered by health care workers in other countries when they are faced with complicated cases. “The majority of people who come want to be seen by a specific UM physician. Why? Because they’ve seen the doctor speak or read one of his or her research papers. The big draw is the talent of our doctors, and we’re going to be bragging about them a lot more,” says Freed. “Our physicians have a lot of one-on-one relationships, and the focus of this department is moving toward harnessing all of the good stuff our doctors do abroad and keeping the relationships strong.”

Freed is planning on publishing an “e-zine” that will be sent to patients, physicians, and students who’ve visited the Miller School and will keep them informed about what’s happening at the institution. “We have a lot of potential goodwill ambassadors out there,” she says. “Our job is to not forget about them—and have them not forget about us.”