UnitedHealth, the most prominent health care insurance company of the United States, signs an agreement to establish IRCAD in Rio de Janeiro

February 3, 2016

Rio de Janeiro – Brazil: On Saturday, January 30, 2016, Professor Jacques Marescaux, IRCAD President, signed a partnership agreement with Dr. Edson De Godoy Bueno, CEO of Amil and board member of UnitedHealth group, with the objective of creating a new training center in Brazil in 2017 (IRCAD Rio).

Leaning against Americas Medical City, a huge hospital compound, this third international offshoot of IRCAD will first be deployed over 4,000 sq. m. in the district of Barra da Tijuca, right beside the sea, in Rio de Janeiro.

Closely modeled on the IRCAD center in Strasbourg, France, this new center will train surgeons to laparoscopic and endovascular techniques, in all specialties taught at IRCAD Strasbourg. This center will have with a platform equipped with 20 experimental operating tables, 2 robotic surgical systems, and one robotic CT-scan (Artis ZEEGO).

Given the outstanding establishment of UnitedHealth in the United States with 70 million members and its impressive network of hospitals, IRCAD Rio will not only train Latin American surgeons but also Northern American surgeons. The agreement was made possible only because IRCAD represents one of the rare institutions in Europe, along with the Imperial College of Surgeons in London, to have its training programs certified by the prestigious American College of Surgeons (ACS).

Professor Jacques Marescaux and the IRCAD team will take responsibility for scientific content, course organization, and evaluation.

IRCAD France and IRCAD Rio will also cooperate for the development of common research projects in the field of novel surgical and imaging techniques.

Project history

In April 2015, a delegation made up of American and Brazilian surgeons, radiologists, and administrative leaders of the UnitedHealth group, came to IRCAD to carry out a detailed audit of research and educational activities held at the Institute.

Further to this 4-day visit in Strasbourg, it was decided to build a new mirror Institute of IRCAD in Rio de Janeiro.

The reasons for this partnership allowing UnitedHealth to join the international network of IRCAD excellence already put together in France, Taiwan, and Brazil, are manifold:

  • IRCAD’s international recognition over 20 years;
  • IRCAD’s network of experts associating 800 opinion leaders in the field of surgery, from the world over;
  • WeBSurg’s web-based Virtual University, gathering more than 320,000 members.

It is rather incredible that a private insurer in health care would have such an exciting vision for tomorrow’s treatment strategies and would take the initiative to set up specific training programs in the field of innovative technologies for the benefit of patients.

Edson De Godoy Bueno’s outstanding career

Son of a truck driver, Edson De Godoy Bueno, board member of UnitedHealth group, decided to become a doctor at the age of 14. Even before the end of his medical studies, he acquired his first hospital. The following year, in 1972, he founded the Amil Health Trust Fund, which was soon to become the most important health trust in Brazil. In 2012, to support its ongoing development, Amil was rebought by the American UnitedHealth Group specialized in health care insurance.

The IRCAD’s international development

After the creation of IRCAD France in 1994, the opening of IRCAD Taiwan in 2008, of IRCAD America Latina in the State of São Paulo in 2011, the Institute takes a new step forward with the creation of a fourth branch in Rio de Janeiro. This new agreement aims to strengthen the position of the IRCAD as a world leader in the field of medical imaging, surgical research, and education in novel minimally invasive surgical techniques. Along with the largest health insurance company in the United States, this partnership testifies to the recognition of French excellence in the field of medicine and surgery, truly embodied by IRCAD.