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April 17, 2014

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health care column:

Ruvo center wows former Mexican President Fox

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Richard Brian

Warm welcome: Former Mexican President Vicente Fox, center, is greeted by electrician Juan Barrios, left, and Melesio Uribe, right, as Fox visited the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health on Oct. 14.

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Impressive architecture: A view inside the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health on Oct. 14. Former Mexican President Vicente Fox toured the degenerative brain disease research and treatment facility with its curved steel enclosure. Fox plans to implement some of the center's concepts at his presidential library in Mexico.

The Lou Ruvo center has attracted celebrities and politicians, but former Mexican President Vicente Fox’s visit was a first for the degenerative brain disease research and treatment facility.

Fox is the first foreign head of state to tour the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, and its Frank Gehry-designed architecture was not lost on him.

The president, his wife and their entourage toured the treatment facility, and later the curved steel enclosure with founder Larry Ruvo as tour guide.

There was a burst of laughter when they spotted one of the construction workers wearing a wide-brimmed sombrero that read, “Viva Mexico.” Fox paused to take photos with the workers. Speaking in Spanish (which was incomprehensible to me) they smiled and shook his hand.

In true North American style, Fox has built a presidential library near his home in Guanajuato, Mexico, and the president, who led Mexico from 2000 to 2006, told me he plans to incorporate some of what he learned during his tour of the Ruvo center.

“I’m absolutely impressed with this idea,” Fox said after the tour. “I’m getting my own ideas out of here for the presidential library ... Many of the concepts I hear from (Larry Ruvo) we’re implementing down there.”

Furthermore, as a Mexican businessman (he was chief of Coca-Cola’s Latin America operations before he became president), there is a lot that his country’s businesspeople can learn from what the Ruvo center has accomplished so far.

“Not only learn, but (they) will be visiting this place and hopefully contributing on expanding this idea,” Fox said. “I think it should be spread to Mexico and the whole of the world.”

• • •

Where has our social civility gone?

I attended the town-hall meeting Rep. Dina Titus hosted Oct. 19 to discuss health care reform. Her staff collected cards with questions from many of the estimated 500 people at Congregation Ner Tamid in Green Valley.

Walking into the synagogue, I assumed that the people would tone down the attacks seen over the summer while in a house of God.

Boy, was I wrong.

Rick Carter, who is on Ner Tamid’s board of directors, even tried to preempt any disrespect inside the synagogue.

“Please be respectful of this synagogue and everyone who is here to hear the congresswoman,” he told the audience.

But as Titus was being introduced that request was forgotten, and even before she started answering questions, some in the audience booed her.

Throughout the one-hour town-hall meeting, people shouted “Liar!” before she had a chance to respond to the questions.

And I’m not going to mention the personal attacks I overheard. There is no place for those words in civil debate.

The room wasn’t filled only with naysayers, however. There were those, old and young alike, who support health care reform and, being of like mind with the congresswoman, were far more civil during the meeting.

The commotion and outpouring of anger slowed Titus’ ability to answer questions, leaving many untouched.

Still, she extended an olive branch to her constituents and encouraged them to visit her local office with any concerns she can help them with.

“I don’t mind getting booed,” she said at the end. “Just as long as we’re having a dialogue.”

• • •

The business community needs to work more closely with the higher education system, but for that to happen the private sector needs strong support from the state.

Clark County Commission Chairman Rory Reid, who recently announced he is running for governor, sponsored a panel with some businesspeople, students and professors at UNLV’s Boyd Law School.

“If the state doesn’t step up to the plate, how can we expect the private sector to step up?” said Bill Marion, principal of Purdue Marion & Associates.

UNLV Business College Dean Paul Jarley said one challenge facing the state is college graduates leaving Nevada once their education is done.

“They don’t see qualified options to keep them in the state,” he said. “Ultimately, universities are in the business of driving intellectual capital.”

But if those graduates leave, the intellectual capital goes with them.

“The business community needs to understand that it has a stake in what happens in the university system,” Reid said after the round table. “Universities and the business environment are inextricably linked.”

• • •

The Nevada Cancer Institute has formed an alliance with St. Mary’s Center for Cancer in Reno.

The institute opened an office this month and will be working with patients and caregivers to help expand access to cancer treatment in Northern Nevada.

“Having the official cancer institute of Nevada at our campus is another opportunity to expand our services and reach more patients in Northern Nevada and offer quality care so that cancer patients can stay in Nevada for treatment,” said Mike Uboldi, CEO of Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center.

Through the partnership, St. Mary physicians can apply to become affiliates of the institute.

Nicole Lucht covers health care, workplace, energy and banking issues for In Business Las Vegas and its sister publication, the Las Vegas Sun. She can be reached at 259-8832 or at [email protected]

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