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Stempel College’s Global Health Consortium addresses cybersecurity in health care with course in Spanish directed at Latin America

Carlos EspinalCyberattacks on health care organizations can be deadly.

In September, a major hospital chain was hit by what appears to be one of the largest medical hacks in U.S. history, leaving for hours some 400 locations without access to patients’ computerized records and hampering medication systems. This month, companies and governments that will be distributing coronavirus vaccines experienced a series of digital assaults with the goal of possibly stealing technology or otherwise sabotaging the pharmaceuticals’ movements.

While such cases represent some of the most serious and wide-reaching of digital attacks, the need for vigilance across the health care industry at every level remains paramount, says Carlos Espinal, a professor in the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work and the director of its Global Health Consortium.

The consortium is a collaborative platform focused on coordinating national and international partnerships to provide health solutions to the world’s population. Recognizing the growing need for health care cybersecurity education to avoid potentially life-threatening scenarios, as well as safeguard finances and personal data, it addressed the issue as part of the 2019 Global Health Conference of the Americas. The international audience for the Miami-based meeting responded with overwhelming interest to a panel presentation by technical experts on the subject.

“We saw the important discussions [take place] about cybersecurity and health,” Espinal recalls of the animated responses of attendees, “and how unprepared we are today and how vulnerable we are in this area.”

While every industry can fall prey to internet crimes, the health care industry is unique in that breaches could result in physical harm to individuals. And while no country is immune from cyberattacks, some have established fewer defenses than others, Espinal says, among them those in Latin America and the Caribbean, which have “no culture for cybersecurity.”

An international security firm has suggested that the region suffers from a lack of public awareness of cyberthreats as well as a lack of the kind of trust between the public and private sectors required to collaborate on cybersecurity initiatives.

“We don’t even know in Latin America and the Caribbean today,” Espinal says, “how the countries are prepared for strengthening the cybersecurity structure to protect the patients’ data, laboratory results and money from cyberattacks.”

And the recent shift to greater remote work in the face of the pandemic has likewise subjected even more health care companies – just as it has everyone else – to greater digital threats.

Conscious of the Global Health Consortium’s position to reach a worldwide audience—the Global Health Conference of the Americas this year was moved to a virtual platform and drew a record 2,500 attendees from more than 60 countries—Espinal is partnering with experts at FIU’s Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs to develop the live online “Cybersecurity and Health” certification, or “Certificado en Ciberseguridad y Salud,” to be offered in February. The course will be taught exclusively in Spanish to draw the widest audience possible from the region, Espinal says, and designed to appeal not just to the top government and industry officials who are expected to attend but to owners of small medical businesses and even those further down the line who are engaged in the handling of sensitive data.

“We are framing the education to show that every member of the health structure and organization is responsible for protecting patient data and creating this culture of security,” Espinal says.

Breakout discussions and small-group exercises will follow the presentations by technical experts to enhance the learning experience.

Health care is a $10 trillion dollar business that affects all 7.8 billion people in the world. Cybercrime cost $2 trillion across all industries in 2019, and that number is expected to rise dramatically as more people and organizations go online.

Sobre el programa

  • Febrero 9, 11, 17 y 19 de 2021
  • Cupo limitado
  • Costo: $395 USD
  • Para más información

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