Making Life Better by Donna Petersen, ScD, MHS, CPH

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USF Health makes the world smaller while we make life better

Last week I had the distinct pleasure of visiting two universities and the beginnings of a new futuristic city in Ecuador.  Faculty members across USF Health have been nurturing partnerships with both the Universidad San Francisco de Quito and the Universidad Central del Ecuador, also in Quito, for several years.  We have benefitted from their outstanding facilities, the opportunities to study human health in a geographically and ecologically diverse array of settings (the mountains, the coast, the rain forest, even The Galapagos), their stellar faculty and their generous spirits.  It is now our turn to offer them something they need, as they continue to experience rapid growth and development with a strong economy and relative political stability.  The country would like to greatly expand its scientific and technological capacities and it needs more PhD programs to train the next generation of scholars and innovators.

This is where we come in!  Across USF Health, we have tremendous expertise in research methodologies and in teaching modalities in areas that are of great interest to the Ecuadorian government and the universities.  They would like to quickly enroll some of their current faculty in Health PhD programs while we help them build their own PhD production capability.  Thankfully, with our knowledge of distance education, our proven ability to offer intense short courses that have lasting impact and our philosophy of promoting doctoral research in-country, we can minimize their time away from jobs and family while ensuring rigorous training in line with their expectations for the future.

And speaking of the future, check out Yachay, a combination university, technology park, sustainable community, agricultural incubator and tourism center.

Like our thriving partnerships with colleagues in Thailand, India,Malaysia and Panama, this budding relationship promises to deliver rewards to all involved as we expand applied learning opportunities for our students, continue to build productive research collaborations and help Ecuador strengthen its capacity to fully participate in the discovery and innovation so necessary for improvements in the quality of human life.  Stay tuned for the next trip!



 The statue of La Virgen de Quito