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Dartmouth and Peru Partnering to Improve Lives

Guided by Dartmouth's tradition of developing global citizens, the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth is forging new partnerships in Peru to create educational opportunities and improve lives.

Dartmouth medical and undergraduate students, and a leadership team from the medical school spent time in Peru this summer learning about the Peruvian health care delivery system and public health challenges, examining health needs in low-income communities, and exploring ways to partner with the Peruvian government, and academic, health care, and community organizations.

"Through the visit of Dartmouth students and teachers, we have seen the meaning of solidarity and the commitment of a true global citizen. Together, we will discover the priority needs of the community and support them to find practical solutions that lead to improved quality of life."
--Malena Ramos (right), director general of Los Visionarios in Peru. Ramos is joined here by fellow Visionarios community leader, Lorena Mestanza Cordova. The Geisel School of Medicine is teaming up with Visionarios to build a library in one of the most underserved areas of Lima.

"Peru is a natural partner for Dartmouth in global health work," said Dr. Chip Souba, dean of the Geisel School of Medicine. "It has wonderful diversity among its people and regions, a strong spirit to improve lives, and a tradition of excellence in medicine and education."

"Partnering with Peru offers important educational experiences for our students, particularly with underserved communities," added Souba. "They build their empathy, clinical skills, and leadership capabilities . . . which are integral to solving health care's most vexing problems...whether in Peru or our country."

Building a biblioteca: a space for learning, community

One immediate result from the visit includes the Geisel school joining forces with the Arenal Alto -- Villa Maria del Triunfo community, along with the Visionarios community organization, to construct a small library within this impoverished area.Nearly 80 percent of residents in the Arenal Alto community live in poverty or extreme poverty. Many children and families are malnourished. Arenal Alto's housing is often make-shift, and the community's residences terrace up the side of a mountain found at the southern edge of Lima.

"In this partnership, the Geisel School of Medicine and Dartmouth are using a community-needs driven approach, starting with visiting the leaders and families of El Arenal Alto," said Dr. Jaime Bayona, Geisel assistant professor of community and family medicine and leader of Dartmouth's Peru Program. "We aim to build a sustainable, mutually beneficial partnership, putting in practice global experiences for local solutions with high impact in the community we would like to serve."

L-R: Dr. Carla Tafur, emergency medicine physician at the Hospital Nacional Cayetano Heredia, Dr. Chip Souba, dean of Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine, Dr. Raul Acosta, chief of emergency medicine at the Hospital Nacional Cayetano Heredia, and Dr. Jaime Bayona, Geisel assistant professor of community and family medicine and leader of Dartmouth's Peru Program.

"At the same time, the lessons learned with this community in Peru will help us become truly global citizens who care about equity regardless of where we live," said Bayona, who is also director of Global Health Programs and Practice at the Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science.

Prior to joining the Dartmouth faculty, Bayona was the co-founder and director of Socios En Salud Sucursal Peru (SES), the Peruvian branch of Partners In Health.

"The Visionarios team is excited and honored to begin this work with Dartmouth," said Malena Ramos, Visionarios director general. "The medical school's contribution will also strengthen our existing partnership with the community of Villa Maria del Triunfo and with the Carmelite Sisters."

To support the promise of this library and partnership, go to The Geisel Global Health Fund - Peru.

Cancer care best practices, shared decision making, community health and disaster preparedness among other potential areas for partnership

Joining Souba and Bayona to assess opportunities for educational rotations and potential collaboration areas with Peruvian leaders were: Gary Snyder, Geisel associate vice president for communications and advancement; and Dr. Robert Gougelet, Geisel assistant professor of medicine and director of the New England Center for Emergency Preparedness.

The group met with senior leadership from several Peruvian governmental, health and academic institutions, including:

  • Walter Humberto Castillo Martell, superintendent of SUNASA, Peru's National Health Insurance agency within the Peru Ministry of Health. SUNASA oversees and regulates the quality of health care and providers within the system. SUNASA is interested in working with Geisel on improving access to data showing health care quality and costs, as well as how to deploy shared decision making in health care delivery.
  • Maria Paola Lucia Llosa Isenrich, MD, dean, Alberto Hurtado School of Medicine at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Lima. The University was named in honor of Cayetano Heredia, one of the eminent Peruvian physicians of the 19th century. A memorandum of understanding is being developed between Geisel and Cayetano, which is one of the premier medical schools in Peru.
  • Tatiana Vidaurre, MD, director of Peru's Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Neoplásicas (National Cancer Institute). The Cancer Institute is interested in best practices for cancer care protocols and delivering expanded cancer care services throughout Peru, an expansion recently announced by the Peruvian government. The Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth and the Geisel medical school will be involved.
  • Luis Dulanto Monteverde, MD, director general of National Hospital Cayetano Heredia, and Raul Acosta, MD, chief of emergency medicine at the National Hospital Cayetano Heredia. Cayetano Heredia serves the northern section of Lima--close to 1 million population, including the Villa Maria del Triunfo district where the library will be built. The hospital and Geisel will consult regarding how to reduce the health impact of water shortages and infrastructure challenges in Lima, and set a model for other similar urban regions. Also, to reduce the impact of a natural disaster on the northern part of Lima.

Jennifer Murray, global health program officer at the Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science, and Talia Robledo-Gil, teaching assistant, D '12, coordinated the activities of Dartmouth students, faculty and staff in Peru this summer.

The University of the Pacific in Lima graciously served as the host institution for Dartmouth students, faculty and staff. Pacific is well known for its excellent programs in the fields of economics, law, finance, accounting, and business administration.

Dartmouth Geisel medical students participating in the Peru experience included: Anna Huh, Geisel second-year student; Sadie Marden, Geisel second-year student; and Karl Dietrich, Geisel fourth-year student.

Dartmouth undergraduate students and graduates included: Anneliesse Duncan, '13Katherine Pujol, '13Ricardo Vera Monroy, '12Stephanie Takeuchi, '12, and Kat Sanders, '12.

To support the promise of this work, go to The Geisel Global Health Fund - Peru.