Delegation signs agreements to expand international aid in Central America
Friday, February 13 2009 @ 04:23 PM EST
Contributed by: Don Winner
Looking back on the trip, Pedro Mancias, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics at the UT Medical School, said, “The desire for cooperation is great; the need is greater. We have the opportunity to help the people struggling in this region and our academic colleagues who are faced with shortages in materials and manpower.” Mancias represented Giuseppe Colasurdo, M.D., dean of the medical school.
The delegation of 14 was received by Guatemalan Vice President Dr. Rafael Espada, a former cardiothoracic surgeon at Baylor College of Medicine and The Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center.
The trip to the Central American Parliament, PARLACEN, was productive. “We met with representatives from all of the Central American countries and talked about opportunities to collaborate,” said Juanita Romans, chief executive officer of the Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center Campus, the private, primary teaching hospital for the medical school. “This is yet another example of our shared vision with our academic partners at UT, and I'm proud of what we are trying to accomplish together not just locally, but globally,” Romans said.
“We accomplished what we set out to do,” said Adan Rios, M.D., associate professor of internal medicine at the medical school. Rios, who is a native of Panama, spearheaded the proposed partnership. “The most important aspect was the fulfillment of the international projection and commitment of the health science center and Memorial Hermann to collaborate globally with other academic institutions and healthcare facilities. Over the next year, we will work on defining what type of aid we can provide. All six schools that comprise the health science center will be helping in different capacities.”
On behalf of the People of Guatemala and the nations represented at PARLACEN, Espada expressed with great emotion the hope the visit brought to the region, Rios said.
“Our delegation was received so graciously by our Central American neighbors,” said Sharon K. Ostwald, PhD, RN, professor and Isla Carroll Turner Chair of Gerontological Nursing and coordinator of international programs in The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Nursing. Ostwald represented Patricia L. Starck, D.S.N, RN, dean of the school of nursing. “The trip inspired continuing conversations across our borders as we consider ways that we can assist in the education of nurses and physicians throughout Central America and work with our colleagues there to improve the health care services that are available to their citizens.”
“Our trip to Guatemala to see the 333-year-old Universidad de San Carlos as well as speak to the Central American Parliament was inspiring and momentous,” said Carmel B. Dyer, M.D., director of the Division of Geriatric and Palliative Medicine and professor and executive vice-chair of internal medicine at the medical school. Dyer represented David McPherson, M.D., chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at the medical school. “We can envision multiple opportunities for intellectual exchange – of trainees, data and ideas. We look forward to developing a strategic plan for working with our Central American neighbors.”