Ira Pastor, ideaXme longevity and aging ambassador and founder of Bioquark, interviews Ambassador Dr. Fernando Llorca Castro, ambassador of Costa Rica to the United States.
Ira Pastor Comments:
On the last several shows we’ve been spending a lot of time talking with experts and visionaries from university laboratories, bio-pharma companies, and government research institutions, all working on the problem of healthy aging and human enhancement from the perspective of bio-therapeutic interventions.
We’ve also spoken with guests about various non-therapeutic and external interventions that affect health and wellness. We’ve touched on topics including exercise, diet, the importance of the human and animal bond, chronobiology, and the importance of getting out and reconnecting with nature.
Lastly, we’ve spoken with guests who are using technologies in this increasingly connected world, with globalized and standardized medical research and training, to get the right patients to the right technologies, in the right countries, faster and more efficiently, to help save lives and reduce suffering.
Today we are going to bring all of these themes together, not focusing on a specific company or laboratory, but on a specific country which is really making the themes of health, wellness and longevity a major part of their social, economic and international development at a whole new level. We are going to take a trip down to the country of Costa Rica.
The Republic of Costa Rica is a sovereign state in Central America, with a population of around 5 million. While agricultural exports of bananas, coffee, sugar and beef are still the backbone of its commodity-driven export economy, it has been making some amazing developments as far as economic diversification is concerned, and especially in the areas of eco-tourism and health and medical tourism.
The average life expectancy for Costa Ricans is around 80 years (above the U.S.) and the country is home to the Nicoya Peninsula which is considered one of the major Blue Zones in the world, where people commonly live active lives past the age of 100 years. It’s also routinely ranked at the top of The Happy Planet Index (HPI), an index of human well-being and environmental impact.
Costa Rica has been cited as Central America’s great health success story, with its healthcare system ranked higher than that of the United States, despite having a fraction of its GDP.
Costa Rica has become a very popular and attractive destination for medical tourism, receiving around 150,000 foreigners that come for medical treatment annually, due to geographic proximity to the U.S., high quality of medical services, and lower medical costs.
Our guest today is Ambassador Dr. Fernando Llorca Castro, who became ambassador of Costa Rica to the United States in September 2018.
Ambassador Dr. Fernando Llorca Castro
Ambassador Llorca has many years of experience in international development and has held prominent positions in transnational organizations as a health policy advisor, medical and research manager, and a primary care medical practitioner. He still has a full license to practice medicine in Costa Rica, Spain and the United Kingdom.
In 2014, Ambassador Llorca was appointed by then President Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera as the Deputy Minister of Health, subsequently becoming the Minister and the Steward of the Health, Nutrition and Sports Sector in Costa Rica, where he established private and public safety regulations and best practices policies.
He also serves in the role of Executive President of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS), the most important health care provider in the country which formulates and executes health programs that are both preventive (such as vaccination, health information dissemination, fumigation) and healing (such as surgery, radiation therapy, pharmaceutical, clinical developments) in nature.
In addition to his medical degree, Ambassador Llorca holds an advanced studies diploma in political economics from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, and a Master of Science in health policy, planning and finance from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). He also holds two master’s degrees in healthcare management as well as health economics and pharmacoeconomics from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona.
Today we hear from Ambassador Llorca:
About his background and how he became interested in health and medicine. How he became interested in international development and business. Finally, how he developed an interest in politics and arrived at such an influential position in the Costa Rican government.
About the current Costa Rican economy and its success in transitioning from agriculture, to many other advanced industries. The amazing health and wellness success in Costa Rica; how it achieved such a high rank on the list of human life expectancy as well as the “Happiness Index.” How Costa Rica became such an important hub for both Medical tourism and Eco-tourism in the region. We’ll hear about his vision for the future of Costa Rica. Finally, we’ll learn about important influencers who guided him throughout his life and career.
Credits: Ira Pastor interview video, text, and audio.
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