Dell Medical School and Texas Global at The University of Texas at Austin are addressing the shared health challenges in Texas and Mexico while promoting health access and equity through the launch of the Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH) program in Mexico.
The new collaboration, known as Modelo Académico para Proveer Acceso a la Salud (MAPAS) in Spanish, is being developed by Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP) Faculty of Medicine and the Ministry of Health in the State of Puebla (Secretaria de Salud Estado de Puebla), with Dell Med and Texas Global leading the involvement of the AMPATH Consortium.
“Texas and Mexico share a border, history, culture and people through the flow of immigrants in both directions, which means they also share a similar disease burden: diabetes, obesity, hypertension and cardiovascular disease,” said Tim Mercer, M.D., MPH, chief of the Division of Global Health in the Department of Population Health and assistant professor of population health and internal medicine at Dell Med.
“The similarities and differences between these two communities present extraordinary opportunities for collaboration and bidirectional learning and innovation,” said Mercer, who served as a faculty leader in Kenya and now leads the planning and implementation for Dell Med in Mexico.
AMPATH México aims to replicate a successful 30-year population and primary health care delivery, training and research collaboration in Kenya between Moi University, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, and the AMPATH Consortium, a global network of 14 universities and academic health systems led by Indiana University and including Dell Med. In addition to Mexico, the AMPATH model initiated in Kenya is being replicated in Ghana.
AMPATH México seeks to improve population health and achieve the following goals:
- Engage meaningfully with local communities to assess and address clinical and nonclinical factors affecting health.
- Build capacity in population health and primary care delivery, training and research.
- Invest in efforts to leverage informatics, data integration and data analytics for better health.
- Conduct rigorous, relevant and responsive health services and implementation science research.
- Train the next generation of health care leaders in Mexico and the U.S.
The AMPATH México team will initially focus on planning and building an infrastructure for the program, including hiring faculty and staff members, recruiting partners and developing logistics and a curriculum for exchanging information among UT Austin, the AMPATH Consortium and BUAP for students, residents and faculty members.
“The AMPATH México partnership establishes an interdisciplinary approach to creating high-quality health care, training and research collaborations that serve UT faculty, students and the local community in Puebla,” said Sonia Feigenbaum, Ph.D., senior vice provost for global engagement and UT Austin’s chief international officer. “The implementation of AMPATH México is a testament to the measurable success of AMPATH Kenya, and UT Austin is eager to collaborate with BUAP, focus on reducing health care disparities for vulnerable communities, and expand research infrastructure in both Texas and Mexico.”
BUAP is the public, state university in the state capital, the city of Puebla – the fourth-largest city in Mexico. The faculty of medicine hosts more than 7,800 students educated by more than 380 faculty members.
Dr. Luis Guillermo Vázquez de Lara Cisneros, dean of BUAP’s Facultad de Medicina, speaks to the shared goal of improving community health in Puebla:
“Pero lo más importante, y quizá lo más ambicioso, es que ambas instituciones, a través de este modelo académico y con apoyo de la Secretaría de Salud, contribuiremos a mejorar el acceso a la salud en la población más vulnerable de nuestro entorno.”
Translation: “But most important, and perhaps the most ambitious, is that both institutions, through this academic model and with the support of the Ministry of Health, will contribute to improve access to health in the most vulnerable population in our surrounding areas.”
AMPATH México is possible due to Eli Lilly and Company, a longtime partner of AMPATH Kenya. The company awarded $2.8 million over four years to launch AMPATH México.
“At the core of the AMPATH partnership model is the belief that long-term, sustainable global health partnerships are the key to improving health around the world,” said Adrian Gardner, M.D., MPH, executive director of the AMPATH Consortium led by Indiana University. “Academic medical centers working with ministries of health are uniquely positioned to be accountable for the health of a community and to lead with care in a way that empowers training and research.”