2008-12-04 / Local & State

Ukrainian First Lady Tours Pittsburgh Hospital

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Ukrainian first lady Kateryna Yushchenko toured a Pittsburgh hospital and said she hopes to develop partnerships between the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and hospitals in her country.

The wife of Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko toured Children's Hospital in the city's Oakland section on Saturday, along with Ukrainian Ambassador Oleh Shanshur and Vira Pavliuk, director of the Children's Hospital program for Yushchenko's Ukraine 3000 International Charitable Foundation.

She said she wants to use the development of UPMC's new Children's Hospital as a model for hospitals in her country. She said she wants to see cooperation between American and Ukrainian doctors, particularly in cancer research.

Cancer is a major concern in Ukraine 22 years after the Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster.

"I just think it's amazing how much Pittsburgh has been able to change its economy, where it used to be industrial-based to one that's very technology- and medicine-based,'' Yushchenko said, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. She added that Ukraine was undergoing a similar transformation.

Dr. Andrew Urbach, UPMC's medical director of clinical excellence and service, led the group through the intensive care unit and emergency departments. Yushchenko gave the children in a playroom small Ukrainian

dolls. She also toured the hospital's planned replacement and visited the Ukrainian Nationality Room in the Cathedral of Learning at Pitt.

Yushchenko, 47, was born in Chicago to Ukrainian immigrants. After working for the U.S. government, she moved to Ukraine in 1991 and married Viktor Yushchenko in 1998. She became a Ukrainian citizen in 2005, the same year her husband was elected president.

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