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(MIAMI) – Had Ponce de Leon lived in the 21st century, he’d have realized his search for the Fountain of Youth was not in vain. It was just 300 miles south of where he landed -- in Greater Miami and the Beaches.
From the moment you step off the plane in Miami, you can feel a vitality and youthful energy like nowhere else. With its warm sunshine, sensual tropical breezes, soothing crystal blue waters, serene spas, creative energy and Latin rhythms that inspire you to dance, Miami is a place people come to heal body and soul.
Perhaps this is part of the reason behind Miami’s recent emergence as a global magnet for medical meetings and tourism.
The rest of the story? Some of the world’s most cutting-edge medical facilities, research programs and physicians have all played a role in why people from all over the world travel here – either to get healthy, or learn how restore wellbeing in patients.
These things, coupled with a tropical, cosmopolitan setting, abundant healthy dining options, almost limited outdoor recreation, rousing nightlife, international airport, diverse accommodations and multilingual community have inspired many of these leisure and business travelers to come time and again. Many of these travelers, as well as top-notch physicians, now call Miami home.
Award-winning Medical Facilities
The world has taken notice of Miami’s hearty health systems, according to writer Pat Klock Parker in a 2016 Miami Herald article.
“In recent years, Miami’s health systems have experienced remarkable growth and expansion, bringing high-quality care into more local neighborhoods,” said Parker. “…I wish there were enough column inches to list all the awards, honors, and recognition [Miami’s] institutions have earned in recent years. U.S. News & World Report’s 2016-2017 “Best Hospital” Rankings included four Baptist facilities on its best regional hospitals list; the same list includes Jackson’s Holtz Children’s Hospital among the nation’s top children’s hospitals, and has also ranked UHealth’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute the number-one eye hospital in the nation for 15 years. These are included not only to reinforce each system’s respective success, but to clarify how that success has earned global attention.”
Mount Sinai Medical Center
One of the facilities getting worldwide attention is Mount Sinai Medical Center, one of the state’s first academic teaching hospitals and boasting world-renowned physicians, research programs and medical facilities. Continuously recognized in U.S. News & World Report as a leading facility for cardiology and heart surgery, they teamed up with Columbia University to build the Mount Sinai Heart Institute, featuring the best heart attack survival rate in Florida.
Mount Sinai is also known for its programs in cancer treatment, urology (also affiliated with Columbia), surgery and neuroscience, as well as its Wien Center for Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders, the largest of its kind in the state. More than 200 active research trials are underway in the areas of cancer, heart disease, interventional radiology and neuroradiology, and degenerative spine disease. In addition, The Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center is the first in Florida to earn the Outstanding Achievement Award three consecutive times from the Commission on Cancer.
To expand their offerings, Mount Sinai has embarked on a $205 million transformation – slated for completion in 2018 --that will update existing facilities, double the size of the existing emergency room, as well as add an eight-story surgical tower and new observation unit.
University of Miami
UHealth, the University of Miami Health System, features some of the region’s finest doctors and groundbreaking research, as well as the Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. In December 2016, the Lennar Foundation Medical Center opened on the Coral Gables campus, providing the services of award-winning facilities such as the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, UHealth Sports Performance and Wellness Institute, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and UHealth Comprehensive Diabetes Center.
As the teaching facility for the University of Miami (UM) Miller School of Medicine, Jackson Memorial Hospital is the centerpiece of Jackson Health System, a nonprofit academic medical system offering world-class care to any person who walks through its doors. Its Ryder Trauma Center has been verified as a Level 1 trauma center by the American College of Surgeons (ACS), and is the only Level 1 trauma center verified by the ACS Committee on Trauma in Miami-Dade County.
Holtz Children’s Hospital at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center is among the nation’s top children’s hospitals, per the U.S. News & World Report’s 2016-2017 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings. Holtz has earned the coveted distinction of becoming an Accredited Pediatric Heart Failure Institute by The Healthcare Colloquium – the first in Florida and the eighth in the nation to earn this distinction. The Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Program at Holtz is the only university-based program in South Florida, whose doctors can provide a transplant for any condition that requires this treatment.
Another center for excellence at UM is The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, founded with the help of Barth A. Green, M.D., and NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti to honor Nick’s son Marc, who sustained a spinal cord injury during a college football game. The center features a premier investigative research program, conducting cutting-edge discovery, translational and clinical investigations targeting spinal cord and brain injuries. Since its inception, research at The Miami Project has changed the landscape of knowledge and therapeutic strategies for spinal cord and traumatic brain injury.
Baptist Health South Florida
Baptist Health South Florida, the region’s largest not-for-profit health care organization, manages several Greater Miami hospitals, such as Baptist Hospital, Baptist Children’s Hospital, Baptist Cardiac & Vascular Institute, South Miami Hospital, Mariners Hospital, Homestead Hospital and West Kendall Baptist Hospital. The latter is affiliated with Florida International University’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, housing an accredited family practice residency program on campus.
Baptist’s International Center of Miami is one of the largest hospital-based international programs in the country, featuring multilingual staff
trained to personally assist patients with medical and travel needs. The organization recently inaugurated the $430 million, state-of-the-art Miami Cancer Institute, which aims to alter the future of cancer care with its Proton Therapy Center. One of the most exciting advances in the fight against cancer, proton therapy targets only the cancerous areas of the body, sparing healthy tissue and eliminating many of the side effects of conventional radiation. It center which opened in fall of 2017, is the only facility of its kind in the region and one of only 14 in the United States.
Nicklaus Children's Hospital
Another luminary on the pediatric care scene is Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, South Florida’s only licensed specialty hospital exclusively for children. It boasts more pediatric subspecialty programs routinely ranked among the nation’s best than any other regional hospital. Highly acclaimed physicians representing more than 40 pediatric subspecialties are located within the hospital’s main campus, where they collaborate to provide comprehensive and innovative medical care to serve children with the most complex health challenges. To ensure optimal care and ease of access for international children and their families, the hospital’s Global Health Services department offers coordinated, comprehensive service.
Top-Notch Meeting Facilities
In addition to conference space within many of the above medical facilities, Miami’s convention centers offer the ideal setting for the meeting of medical minds.
Located a short drive from Mount Sinai, and just blocks from the beach and Art Deco hotel gems, the 647,648-square-foot Miami Beach Convention Center houses some of the world’s largest events and festivals, and is a convenient setting for trade shows and conventions.
A $592-million LEED-certified reimagination of the center – scheduled for completion in late 2018 -- will add 500,000 square feet of exhibit space, 81 breakout rooms and a new 60,000-square-foot ballroom. Everything about the Convention Center will be cutting edge—down to its cyber and surgical knives. Thanks to a partnership with Mount Sinai and Visit Florida grant, Mount Sinai’s medical teams will live stream and demonstrate medical procedures to conference attendees at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
Closer to UM and Baptist facilities are two other major conference centers. The Miami Convention Center, located beside the Hyatt Regency Miami and walking distance to Bayside Marketplace, is one of the community’s most functional meeting, exhibit and entertainment venues. Designed to maximize convenience and flexibility, the center offers 34 well-appointed Miami meeting rooms, including a 444-seat auditorium and a 117-seat lecture hall, and can accommodate from 20 to 5,000 attendees in a variety of configurations. The recently redesigned Miami Airport Convention Center (MACC) is located adjacent to Miami International Airport, adjoining the Doubletree Hotel and the Miami International Merchandise Mart. Minutes from downtown Miami, the MACC features 172,000 square feet of high-tech meeting, conference and trade show space, including a 29,000-square-foot social catering ballroom (second largest in the region) and 100,000 square feet of exhibition and function space.
Engage with Innovative Physicians
Miami offers many opportunities for medical meeting delegates to go beyond lectures about the newest techniques in their fields. Here, you can watch one of the leading physicians in the world perform the latest procedures via live stream. As previously mentioned, this will soon be reality for Mount Sinai. Already a world-class medical facility, the ability to live-stream procedures will make this hospital a cut above the rest.
No matter what type of physician you are looking to learn from or be treated by, Greater Miami’s medical centers boast an impressive array of global leaders in medical care and research.
Rest Your Head
An important part of healing is getting deep, restful sleep. Miami offers 50,000 hotel rooms for all styles and budgets where you can rest after your meeting or procedure. From iconic beach, urban, spa and golf resorts to trendy boutique hotels, many offer amenities tailored to guests who travel to Miami for medical procedures, as well as their traveling companions.
Such amenities include specialized bedding, dining options and services such as dedicated medical-tourism-friendly concierges who act as a single point of contact for all pre- and post-stay needs. Long-term stay rates are offered at some properties, as well as on-site wheelchairs as well as private transportation to and from medical centers. Spa programs are also offered at many hotels, from full-service spas to in-room treatments, bringing additional serenity to the stay and enhancing healing.
Top health resorts include Carillon Miami Beach, a luxurious wellness destination at the footsteps of one of the world’s most beautiful beaches; and Pritikin Longevity Center, a leading evidence-based, lifestyle change health resort. Other hotels providing dedicated medical-tourism-health/wellness services, access to beaches and on-site spa therapy include The Palms Hotel Miami Beach, Eden Roc Resort Miami Beach, Grand Beach Hotel Miami Beach, Grand Beach Hotel Surfside, Hotel Victor South Beach and the Surfcomber Hotel Miami South Beach, a Kimpton Hotel among others.
Coming soon to downtown Miami near Jackson Memorial Hospital is the $750 million Marriott Marquis Miami Worldcenter Hotel & Expo Center, a 1700-room hotel with 600,000 square feet of convention space. Once completed in late 2018, the hotel will be adjacent to MiamiCentral high speed rail station and Miami Worldcenter retail, dining and entertainment center. The technically advanced meeting spaces include a 65,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom – which will be the largest in South Florida and accompanied by a 42,000-square-foot Junior Ballroom -- over 110,000 square feet of dedicated exhibit space, breakout rooms, 80,000 square feet of pool/event outdoor space and a 1,500-seat theatre.
After a long medical meeting or procedure, and a good, long rest in the peace and quiet of your hotel, Miami’s playful, diverse entertainment options can be just what the doctor ordered. The right prescription is up the individual.
Perhaps the best medicine for you is something serene with your spouse, such as a spa day, or watching the sunset from a rooftop lounge as you sip organic herbal tea and your partner savors an ice-cold mojito. If you or your family are up for something more active, a lovely way to explore Miami is atop its healing waters. Depending on your preferred speed, you can paddleboard, parasail or even jet ski on sparkling Biscayne Bay, or glide in a kayak or canoe in the Everglades and Biscayne national parks. Or perhaps what you need is a little retail therapy, one of the number one pastimes in Greater Miami. And why not? In our South Beach boutiques and upscale Greater Miami malls, you and your companions can find fashions and accessories from Paris, Milan, New York and São Paulo.
You can also find comfort gourmet food from every corner of the world, from high-end fusion eateries to hole-in-the-wall ethnic restaurants. Burn away your calories and cares by dancing the night away at any number of clubs offering everything from merengue and salsa to hip hop. Give your feet a rest and perch yourself on a chair at an alfresco table, order a virgin or high-octane cocktail and watch an endless parade of fascinating people from all over the world on Lincoln Road, Española Way and Ocean Drive.
For those needing a more cerebral “drug,” Miami offers an amazing array of captivating art galleries, edgy art districts and renowned performing arts venues, such as the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Miami, second in size only to the Kennedy Center.
Getting Here Stat!
Miami International Airport’s strategic location and expansive roster of global airlines make it relatively quick and easy to get here from many places across the globe. The airport offers approximately 97 international and 53 non-stop domestic flights daily on more than 100 airlines, as well as more flights to Latin America and the Caribbean than any other airport in the nation. Modernized infrastructure and streamlined accessibility to and from the airport are designed to make hosting an event on Greater Miami as easy and headache-free as possible.
Winning Medical Meeting Planning Team
The medical meeting planning team at the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) aims to take the pain out of planning. As a frequent winner of the Corporate & Incentive Travel magazine's “Award of Excellence,” the GMCVB team can do CPR on “been there, done that” medical meetings and help make them extraordinary.
GMCVB helps planners manage the process of planning an unforgettable medical event. Such events in the past decade have included the American Academy of Dermatology, which met for the first in time in 2010 and shattered attendance records. With 19,000 people and a 30 percent spike in international attendance, the group was inspired to return in 2013 and is booked for 2023. The American Society of Radiation Oncology held their 2011 meeting in Miami, which was so successful they’re returning in 2020. The Cardiovascular Research Foundation, impressed by Miami’s high-tech facilities, also met here with great success in 2012.
Planners looking for support in creating the best medical meeting can take advantage of GMCVB’s complimentary services and get started immediately with a free planning guide. They can also submit an RFP at http://planners.miamiandbeaches.com/submit-rfp.
Medical Tourism Information
For those who’d like to get healed and inspired by our destination’s youthful vitality, as well as our astounding concentration of award-winning facilities and innovative doctors, go to www.MiamiHealthCare.org for more information.
The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) is an independent not-for-profit sales and marketing organization whose mission is to attract visitors to Greater Miami and the Beaches for leisure, business and conventions. For a vacation guide, visit our website at www.MiamiAndBeaches.com or call 1-888-76-Miami (US/Canada only) or 305-447-7777. To reach the GMCVB offices dial 305-539-3000. Meeting Planners may call 1-800-933-8448 (US/Canada only) or 305-539-3071 or visit www.MiamiMeetings.com.