Alliance Formed to Bolster Health Care Services in Mesoamerica
By Special to UM News

Alliance Formed to Bolster Health Care Services in Mesoamerica
By Special to UM News
The University of Miami joins forces with the Carlos Slim Foundation and Inter-American Development Bank to improve health care for women and children.

For the purpose of improving the skills of physicians, nurses, and health care professionals in general who give care to the 20 percent of the population with the lowest income in Mesoamerica, the Carlos Slim Foundation(FCS), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the University of Miami, have joined forces to make available to health care personnel two graduate programs intended to strengthen knowledge in the areas of maternal and child health, thus enhancing the quality of health care.

Through the graduate programs in Maternal and Neonatal Health (AMANECE) and Latin American in Vaccinology (DILAVAC), offered through the Online Interactive Platform for Health Education (PIEENSO) developed by the Carlos Slim Foundation, the enrolled professionals will benefit from academic programs with the participation of national and international experts. Both graduate programs are endorsed by prestigious Mexican academic institutions such as UNAM and IPN, and now also by the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

In 2016, thanks to this alliance coordinated through the IDB, the Carlos Slim Foundation will help Mesoamerican countries with 2,000 scholarships at a cost of $1,500 dollars each. Complementing this effort, the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine joins this initiative by providing the academic endorsement to the fellows who complete the graduate programs.

Helping to reduce the gaps in health equity and strengthen knowledge in the areas of maternal and child health care for the professionals working in the most disadvantaged sectors of Mesoamerica have been the triggers for this tripartite alliance whose main goal is to help bring down one of the most worrisome scourges of the region: the mortality rate of women of reproductive age and of children under five.

“The IDB is committed to this academic initiative because by implementing the online graduate programs it is investing in the training of health care personnel in the region, a key element to improve the quantity and quality of maternal, neonatal and child health services to the poorest populations in Mesoamerica,” said Luis Alberto Moreno, president of the Bank.

“The alliance formalized today among our three institutions is an important step to consolidate, through the academic endorsement of an institution as prestigious as the University of Miami, the investment effort in human capital that the Carlos Slim Foundation has developed through PIEENSO, the online training platform for health care professionals,” said Marco Antonio Slim, a member of the Foundation’s Administrative Council.

University of Miami President Julio Frenk noted; “As a hemispheric institution, the University of Miami is dedicated not only to the generation of knowledge, but also to ensure that such knowledge is made available to those who need it. The mission of our Department of Public Health Sciences is to improve the health of the Americas population through the development of local capabilities in the region.”

“Our department is committed to supporting initiatives to create capacity and translate research findings into public health practice throughout the Americas," said Jose Szapocznik, professor and chair of Public Health Sciences and director of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute. "We are delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with two such prestigious institutions in our common mission of improving the health of Mesoamerica. Dr. Viviana Horigian - in spearheading the formation of this alliance - has created new opportunities not only for professionals in Mesoamerica,  but also for our faculty and students.”

With these training programs, the Carlos Slim Foundation, the University of Miami, and the IDB support the strengthening of the quality and coverage of health care services for which the governments of Mesoamerica are working through the Mesoamerican Health Initiative.