Miller School of Medicine and Mexican State of Campeche to Collaborate on Public Health Initiatives

The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has signed a memorandum of understanding with a delegation from Mexico representing the Universidad Autónoma de Campeche and INDESALUD (the Instituto de Servicios Descentralizados de Salud Publica del Estado de Campeche), to foster collaboration on education, training, clinical, and research initiatives, and to encourage the exchange of their respective faculty members and students.

UM President Julio Frenk signed the agreement on September 2 with Álvaro Emilio Arceo Ortiz, M.D., Secretary of Health and General Director of INDESALUD Campeche, and Gerardo Montero Pérez, Provost of the Universidad Autónoma de Campeche.

UM Executive Vice President and Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc welcomed the delegation to the Coral Gables campus.

“UM believes that we become stronger through strategic alliances, and thanks to the memorandum of understanding that we are formalizing today our joint forces will be greater than the sum of our individual efforts,” LeBlanc said.

President Frenk said that the cooperation agreement with Campeche, a state in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, is aligned with the University of Miami’s aspiration to be the hemispheric university, an aspiration that would take full advantage of the University’s location at the gateway to the Americas.

“This is a great opportunity to develop a platform for both innovation and education, and from there to the entire hemisphere,” Frenk said. “So today we are taking a first step in new ways of collaboration to advance science, educational human resources and different ways to apply results in health care and other areas.”

Secretary Arceo, speaking on behalf of the Governor of Campeche, Alejandro Moreno Cárdenas, said that health issues are a priority in Campeche, thanks in large measure to President Frenk’s leadership as Minister of Health in Mexico from 2000 to 2006. Just hours before the signing, the Mexican government recognized the state of Campeche as one of the nation’s public health leaders, Arceo said.

“This memorandum reflects that our human resources will be addressed in a strategic manner, and it will respond to the people of Campeche’s main requirement: social protection in health,” Arceo said.

The day before, the delegation had also visited the medical campus. Its members had met with Steven M. Altschuler, M.D., Senior Vice President for Health Affairs and CEO of UHealth – University of Miami Health System, and Thinh H. Tran, M.D., M.B.A., Chief Clinical Officer and Chief Operating Officer of UHealth. During that meeting, they discussed sharing expertise in health care education, with a focus on public health and how it can assist the economy of Campeche

They also met with faculty from the Department of Public Health Sciences. Arceo explained in detail the 29 public health programs that are being implemented in Campeche. The government has been very successful in addressing major public health problems, such as cancer and cancer risk, but continues to be challenged by chronic diseases, depression and suicide. The group discussed several opportunities for collaboration, in particular the training of physicians in public health, developing capacity, and expansion of the current research infrastructure through collaborative research projects in the areas of expertise of faculty in the Department of Public Health Sciences. Additionally, the delegation expressed strong interest in student exchange and in collaborating with graduate programs by providing field experience opportunities for the M.P.H., M.S.P.H. and M.D./M.P.H. students.

Faculty present at the meeting included Sunil Rao, Ph.D., Interim Chair, professor and Director of the Division of Biostatistics, Hilda Pantin, Ph.D., professor and Executive Vice Chair, Hermes Florez, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., professor and Director of the Division of Epidemiology, Kathryn McCollister, Ph. D., associate professor and Director of the Division of Health Service Research and Policy, Guillermo “Willy” Prado, Ph.D., Dean of the Graduate School, professor and Director of the Division of Prevention and Community Health, John C. Beier, Ph.D., professor and Director of the Division of Environmental Health, David Lee, Ph.D., professor and Director of Graduate Programs, and Viviana Horigian, M.D., associate professor, Interim Director for Public Health Education and Director of the Americas Initiative for Public Health Innovation.

The delegates’ final meeting was with representatives from the Miller School’s International Medicine Institute, led by Eduardo J. De Marchena, M.D., Associate Dean for International Medicine. There is a longstanding relationship between the Miller School and the Universidad Autónoma de Campeche, whereby medical students and physicians have come to Miami for training. The discussion centered on expanding the program to include clinical research and continuing education programs.

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