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OHIO-PUCE agreement-1

Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis and Rector Manuel Corrales Pascual SJ from the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador sign a memorandum of understanding.

Photographer: John Sattler

OHIO-PUCE agreement-2

Pictured (from left) are Randy Leite; Lorna Jean Edmonds; PUCE Vice Rector Ing. Pablo A. Iturralde; PUCE Rector Manuel Corrales Pascual SJ; OHIO President Roderick McDavis; Mario Grijalva; and Ken Johnson.

Photographer: John Sattler

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Ohio University, Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador expanding their partnership to benefit students, faculty


Leaders from Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador (PUCE) and Ohio University recently signed an agreement providing opportunities for students and faculty from both institutions to expand collaborations focused on global health education and research.

PUCE, located in Quito, Ecuador, is ranked as one of the top institutions in Latin America. University Rector Manuel Corrales Pascual SJ, and Vice Rector, Ing. Pablo A. Iturralde, traveled to OHIO to sign a memorandum of understanding with OHIO President Roderick J. McDavis during an April 28 ceremony held at Baker University Center.

The agreement marks the beginning of a new chapter in the relationship between OHIO and PUCE.

The partnership was established in 2000 through a collaborative infectious disease research project investigating Chagas Disease. Since that time, the two institutions have worked together to develop an education and research infrastructure for international academic engagement that includes the jointly operated Center for Infectious and Chronic Disease Research (CICDR) in Quito. The research center currently houses seven Ph.D.-level researchers, eight technicians and 15 student trainees and support staff.

In 2016, OHIO and PUCE will celebrate the CICDR’s move into a new 100,000-square-foot education and research facility with the capacity to accommodate 22 research groups, 15 support personnel, and visiting researchers and students. The Center’s physical, programmatic and operational infrastructure will increase the capacity of OHIO and PUCE to provide international learning experiences for undergraduate, graduate and medical students. The Center will also support collaborative research that advances infectious and chronic disease prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment.

According to Mario Grijalva, Ph.D., professor of microbiology at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and director of its Tropical Disease Institute, the CICDR aspires to become a hub for international academic engagement and a mechanism for the development of integrated knowledge, transdisciplinary approaches to research, and best practices that support Ecuador and countries worldwide in their quest to improve the health and well-being of their populations.

CICDR will generate new opportunities for students and faculty at OHIO and PUCE to engage in a broad range of activities, including:

  • Research that explores the social and economic determinants of infectious and chronic disease
  • Short- and long-term internships that focus on research training and global health education
  • Participation in mobile health clinics in traditionally under-served rural communities
  • Tapping the vast biodiversity of the Amazon rain forest, cloud forest and other unique Ecuadorian ecosystems
  • Conducting clinical trials
  • Performing studies related to the global diabetes epidemic

During their visit, Rector Corrales and Vice Rector Iturralde continued discussions with OHIO officials about the plans for the new Center and new opportunities for collaboration. PUCE leaders toured the campus facilities, visited with faculty and staff, and met with Ken Johnson, D.O., executive dean, Heritage College; Randy Leite, dean, College of Health Sciences and Professions; Joe Shields, vice president for research and creative activity and dean of the Graduate College; Darlene Berryman, executive director, Ohio University Diabetes Institute; Lorna Jean Edmonds, vice provost for global affairs and international studies; and additional OHIO faculty, staff and students.

For more information about the OHIO-PUCE partnership and CICDR, please contact Dr. Grijalva at grijalva@ohio.edu.