November 19, 2008

UAMS College of Public Health Hosts Mexican Counterparts

Eddie Ochoa, Laura Magana, Jim Raczynski, Katharine Stewart and Mario Rodriquez stand outside the College of Public Health.

 Mario Rodriquez and Laura Magana discuss partnership possibilities with Rebecca Krukowski and Delia Smith West.

Nov. 19, 2008 |  A budding relationship between the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health and the only accredited school of public health in Mexico was strengthened after a recent visit.

Mario Rodriguez, M.D., Ph.D., and Laura Magana, Ph.D., from the National Institute of Public Health (Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica or INSP) in Cuernavaca, Mexico, visited UAMS in an effort to gain a better understanding of their respective programs and to further explore partnership opportunities.
“This visit will lead to the beginning of concrete plans to further develop our collaboration with INSP,” said Jim Raczynski, Ph.D., dean of the UAMS College of Public Health. “The overall goal is to increase the cultural competence of our faculty, students and staff in our educational and research programs.”

The College of Public Health last year signed a formal affiliation agreement with INSP to promote faculty and student interchanges for educational and research programs.

Rodriguez, general director of the INSP, was the special guest at Public Health Grand Rounds on Oct. 30 at the Arkansas Department of Health, speaking about research programs and giving an overview of public health issues in Mexico.

“The opportunities for exploration, research and collaboration between the United States and Mexico is vast,” Rodriguez said. “Bridging the cultural divide in respect to public health is an important piece of the future of both nations.”

Magana, academic dean at INSP, gave a presentation later that afternoon to College of Public Health faculty and staff about collaboration opportunities. It was followed by a reception, which was also attended by several members of the recently opened Mexican Consulate office in Little Rock, including Andres Chao Ebergenyl, the Mexican Consul in Arkansas.

Magana said INSP’s outreach is growing, largely due to online programs.

“Our e-learning program has more than 70 online courses and has trained more than 4,500 health workers over the Internet so far in 2008,” Magana said. “The more we are able to collaborate with like-minded public health institutions, the further our reach will extend and the more lives we’ll be able to effect.”

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has 2,652 students and 733 medical residents. Its centers of excellence include the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute and the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. It is one of the state’s largest public employers with about 10,000 employees, including nearly 1,150 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of $5 billion a year.