Q&A with Rakesh Suri, MD DPhil, President of International Operations at Cleveland Clinic


As President of its international operations, Dr. Rakesh Suri is among a select group of Cleveland Clinic physicians visiting Arab Health in Dubai this year. The delegation will be joined at the event by colleagues from Cleveland Clinic’s Abu Dhabi and soon-to-open London hospitals.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit health system established in 1921, and its global mission is to care for life, research for health, and educate those who serve.

Here, Dr. Suri talks about the increasing interconnectedness of countries’ health systems, the role of Arab Health and the UAE on the international stage, and the need to take a global approach to healthcare delivery.

Q: How significant is Arab Health to the international healthcare industry?

The UAE has been a role model for many countries in terms of effectively managing the pandemic. It has been highly effective in protecting the wellbeing of its citizens and residents while simultaneously maintaining the health of its economy.

Key components behind the UAE’s success including the enduring efficiency of the testing infrastructure and rapid rollout of vaccines and booster shots; implementation of robust precautionary measures; embracing innovative solutions and new technologies; and cooperation between diverse industries and stakeholders nationally and internationally. In addition to collaborating with overseas partners, the UAE also supported other countries by supplying skills and resources where needed.

This collaborative nature of the UAE’s response is important as it underscores the interdependency of the health of populations around the world highlighted by the pandemic. To put it simply, none of us is safe and protected unless all of us are safe and protected. Countries need to work together to ensure that everyone, everywhere receives adequate healthcare.

The success of our path to recovery from the pandemic will be determined by the extent of our collaboration across borders. All countries and all health systems will need to work together and to share knowledge, resources, expertise and innovative solutions with each other on a continuous basis.

In this context, Arab Health provides an ideal forum for experts from around the world to exchange ideas, share expertise and explore areas of cooperation.

Q: How will the interdependency of health across the world populations’ affect future healthcare delivery?

Every life deserves world-class healthcare, so we need to make this as accessible as possible to all nations, whether it is through opening new healthcare facilities, harnessing the power of digital healthcare delivery, or by facilitating arrangements to make travel for healthcare needs as convenient as possible.

In the case of Cleveland Clinic, we are adopting all three of these strategies, while ensuring that we continue to deliver the same consistent and exceptional quality of care through all channels. Across all of our locations and activities, we share the same core values and mission and are one of a few truly integrated healthcare delivery systems.

In terms of establishing healthcare facilities, we have expanded our reach extensively over the years. We have facilities across the US and Canada, as well as Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, and a new 184-bed, eight-storey hospital opening in London this Spring alongside the outpatient center that opened last year there.

Aside from locations, we are constantly working to ease access to care, with one example being our Global Patient Services. Here, our caregivers help to facilitate arrangements for visiting international patients. A dedicated account manager who understands the patient’s unique needs and culture helps assist both the patient and his or her family members before, during and after their visit. Moreover, we are introducing the concept of Global Facilitated Access, which will link our hub-based Global Patient Services through a single, 24-7, integrated platform across the world. In this way, we will have a seamless, global interface with aligned metrics, reporting, and patient experience.

For the third component of digital healthcare delivery, we find our digital health consultations and virtual second opinions have become increasingly important since the onset of the pandemic.

Q: What are the advantages of having a global healthcare network?

Cleveland Clinic’s global network enables the benefit of close collaboration between the world’s leading physicians and sets the standard for continual improvement of patient outcomes and experience.

Our caregivers are working in partnership across the globe to ensure better patient outcomes everywhere. We all share the same six core values that guide everything we do, namely, quality and safety, empathy, inclusion, integrity, teamwork and innovation.

We have shared services across our locations, and our physicians and caregivers frequently take advantage of opportunities to gain experience at other Cleveland Clinic locations. We have caregivers from our US-based operations working in leadership and across all roles at international locations, sharing expertise and knowledge and learning from their local counterparts.

Our international teams also lend their support to each other where needed. For example, during the height of the pandemic, we had caregiver volunteers from Abu Dhabi visit the US and vice versa.  

Q: What is Cleveland Clinic’s role at Arab Health?

Cleveland Clinic has had a long association with Arab Health and provides accreditation for the events as part of its continuing medical education conferences each year.

Experts from our network are also very active on its organizing committees, as well as speaking and moderating at the educational sessions. We are delighted to have this opportunity to share our knowledge as well as to learn from our colleagues across the world.


About Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. Among Cleveland Clinic’s 70,800 employees worldwide are more than 4,660 salaried physicians and researchers, and 18,500 registered nurses and advanced practice providers, representing 140 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic is a 6,500-bed health system that includes a 173-acre main campus near downtown Cleveland, 19 hospitals, more than 220 outpatient facilities, and locations in southeast Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Toronto, Canada; Abu Dhabi, UAE; and London, England. In 2020, there were 8.7 million total outpatient visits, 273,000 hospital admissions and observations, and 217,000 surgical cases throughout Cleveland Clinic’s health system. Patients came for treatment from every state and 185 countries. Visit us at clevelandclinic.org. Follow us at twitter.com/ClevelandClinic. News and resources available at newsroom.clevelandclinic.org.