Regional Centers of Engagement
Sharing the expertise of a world-class university with our partners in Botswana to build capacity and excellence in clinical care, education, and research.
The University of Pennsylvania has worked in Botswana since 2001 and currently employs approximately 120 full-time staff in country working under the name the Botswana-UPenn Partnership. The Botswana-UPenn Partnership works with the Government of Botswana Ministry of Health and the University of Botswana to build healthcare and research capacity in Botswana. Penn is taking a broad interdisciplinary approach to train health-care personnel throughout Botswana in the treatment of HIV/AIDS and its complications, to help develop post-graduate training programs at the University of Botswana with an emphasis on Internal Medicine and its subspecialties, to offer experience in global health to Penn trainees, and to develop joint research programs that address issues relevant to the health and welfare of the citizens of Botswana. Please see the Botswana-UPenn Partnership website for more information.
The new Center of Engagement in Southeast Asia (based in Vietnam) will focus initially on the establishment of medical and nursing schools within a newly formed private, nonprofit university (VinUni) and enhancement of graduate medical education and health care provision within Vietnam’s largest private nonprofit health system (Vinmec). Both VinUni and Vinmec are components of the Vingroup, Vietnam’s largest private company, a business that shares Penn Medicine’s commitment to community service through the transformation of health care.
Under the framework of the agreement, Penn Medicine will work with VinUni to guide creation of the schools of Medicine and Nursing, while Cornell University will work in parallel with VinUni to build the schools of Business, and Engineering and Technology. More specifically, Penn will work collaboratively with VinUni to develop the undergraduate curriculum and aligned faculty and institutional support structures to establish high caliber programs in nursing and medicine. As the clinical training environment provides an essential component of this endeavor, Penn will also support the Vinmec Health Care System to enhance the quality of care and of clinical training, initially at the International Hospital in Times City, Hanoi, and ultimately to build a new VinUni/Vinmec teaching hospital in Hanoi. In time, these efforts will encompass creation of medical residency training programs and of a robust clinical research portfolio focused on translational medicine.
Guatemala-Penn Partnership (GPP)
The Guatemala-Penn relationship is a partnership based on more than a century of research, service and scholarship. It will continue to grow according to the reciprocal needs of our Guatemalan stakeholders and the mission of the University.
In 2005, in partnership with regional communities in the Western Highland of Guatemala, Penn began a program of community health surveys, mixed methods evaluations, and interventions to address health issues identified by the respondents, the local government, and local healthcare providers. The result was the formation of the Guatemala Health Initiative (GHI), a program that provides the community-based arm of the Guatemala-Penn Partnership. The GHI works with local NGOs and specific municipalities to perform locally relevant public health projects and train Guatemalan and US students in community health skills. Community assessments have revealed that diabetes and other non-communicable illnesses such as cancer are reaching epidemic levels. In response, a team of local healthcare workers and Penn faculty, supported by the World Diabetes Foundation, initiated a longitudinal program that aims to improve diabetes care through improved prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Other community interventions address asthma, indoor air pollution, water and sanitation, skilled birth attendant training, and health care strategic planning and networking.
Specifically, Penn has partnered with the Hospitalito Atitlán, a local non-profit hospital that serves mostly indigenous populations of the Guatemalan Western Highlands. Through the GPP, numerous physicians, nurses, residents/fellows, as well as undergraduate and graduate students from Penn, and some intermittent students from the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala and Universidad Francisco Marroquin, have provided clinical service to patients at Hospitalito Atitlán.
Through this partnership, Penn and Guatemalan trainees serve as educators in the international educational exchange program in the Hospitalito Atitlán for Guatemalan physicians, most of whom are not residency trained. In addition, Continuing Medical Education courses have been established by the Penn team at Hospitalito Atitlán that cover topics related to medical terminology, Guatemala healthcare systems, health-seeking behavior among Guatemalan Mayans, and impact of the history of violence and social disruption on health. Faculty of the course include a Mayan physician, language educators from Guatemala, and US physicians. The course also includes education about the traditional healing ideals embodied by some populations within Guatemala. For the clinical and administrative staff of the Hospitalito Atitlán, the course provides opportunities for cultural exchange and short-term visiting clinical lectures.
Lastly, Penn has partnered with the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala and Universidad Francisco Marroquin to develop masters-level programs in clinical epidemiology and in public/global health. These programs include work both at Penn as well as on-site in Guatemala. Projects range from basic biostatistics, to clinical outcomes to population effects. These efforts have been supported by several NIH training grants awarded jointly to Penn and our Guatemalan partners.
Please see the Guatemala-Penn Partnership website for more information.