Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine recently renewed its partnership agreement with Hospital Cayetano Heredia—a public university hospital in Lima, Peru, which serves as a national reference hospital in the country and is one of the leading clinical teaching and research institutions in Peru.
The five-year agreement is based on the two institutions’ desire to collaborate on mutually beneficial projects that can address a variety of health priorities in Peru. This includes ongoing research, capacity building, training, and exchange of faculty members and students—and builds on previous work that was started by Dartmouth and the hospital in 2013, which has been supported by the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth and Geisel.
“For a number of years, we’ve been sending undergraduates and medical students to Peru to work with Dr. Raúl Acosta, who is an emergency medicine physician there, and it’s been a fabulous experience for them,” says Lisa V. Adams, MD, MED ’90, director of the Center for Health Equity and associate dean for global health at Geisel. “Dr. Acosta has been one of the best mentors that our students have had. He’s very ‘hands-on,’ he gives them discrete and manageable projects to work on, so they’re really contributing.”
Last summer, Soham Rege ’20, a Geisel Global Health Scholar, worked on a project with Acosta to determine a profile of potential volunteer characteristics that is now helping to guide the recruitment and development of a disaster medical assistance team, based out of Lima for future disaster response.
Projects like Rege’s have been a major area of focus for the partnership. Peru’s geographical characteristics and population density from rapid urbanization—the hospital’s catchment area has increased from 300,000 to 3 million in the last 10 years—make the country particularly vulnerable to natural disasters such as earthquakes, fires, and floods.
While visiting Hospital Cayetano Heredia recently to sign the agreement, Adams discussed current partnership activities, as well as some exciting potential projects with her colleagues. “This year, Dr. Acosta introduced us to partners at another hospital, and now we’re looking at doing a policy project for the Ministry of Health on telehealth in conjunction with the Dickey Center’s Global Health Policy Lab, which would involve pulling a team of students together to assess telehealth potential in the country,” she says.
While in Lima, Adams also met with leadership of the medical school. “They are interested in starting a bilateral medical student exchange program,” she says. “The students that I met there are all highly proficient in English and seemed quite well trained and competent, so I think they would integrate well into the Dartmouth-Hitchcock setting.”
Creating these kinds of reciprocal opportunities for students who are interested in international health enhances their readiness to work in an increasingly connected world, says Adams. “It’s right in line with so many of Geisel’s values—about having impact where we can, building partnerships, and training our medical students to take on some of the biggest challenges that we know are going to be facing health and health care in the future,” she says.