JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Calling it a transformational time for healthcare, Dr. Gianrico Farrugia accepted the 2022 Presidential Global Citizen Award Thursday at Jacksonville University.

The Mayo Clinic president and CEO said medical care is being revolutionized by technological advances, like artificial intelligence, even as it deals with the many challenges of the COVID pandemic – from staff shortages to countering misinformation.

"You really have to say the same messages, as you are well aware, many different times in many different spaces, in order to get that message across," he said during a Q&A with reporters. "What we are committed to is that, irrespective of what others say, we will stick to the truth. So we will not enter the hyperbole game. And I think that's really important for science is that you don't counter hyperbole on one side with hyperbole on the other, but you just stick to the facts."

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Farrugia also spoke about Jacksonville's role as a destination for medical patients seeking treatment. 

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"There always has to be growth," he said. "So for us to continue to make sure that Jacksonville is a destination for healthcare, you've got to do more. People expect more... But they will travel for the right reasons. So we've seen a marked uptick in patients who are coming to Jacksonville from around the country." 

Farrugia is just the fourth recipient of the university's Global Citizen Award. Prior recipients include documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, the daughter of Nelson Mandela, Dr. Makaziwe Mandela and Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo. 

Receiving the award from JU was an honor, Farrugia said, both because President Tim Cost is a friend, but also because of his connection to former JU President and Chancellor Dr. Francis Kinne, whom he met when he served as CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida.

"One of the people who welcomed me to Jacksonville...was Dr. Francis Bartlett Kinne. And she had a big impact on me. And I'm sure she would have been smiling today."

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