Forty-seven participants of the 2013 Edmundo Granda Ugalde Leaders in International Health Program (LIHP) representing 22 Latin American and Caribbean countries, are meeting this week in Antigua, Guatemala together with LIHP mentors and coordinators and PAHO/WHO Country Office staff in Guatemala. The purpose of the meeting is to allow participants to explore in greater depth issues related to international health, including the main concepts, theories and models of international health, its manifestations in the national and regional context and its implications for the Americas.

The meeting, which is taking place from 8 – 12 July, is organized by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), with support from the Training Center of the Spanish Cooperation Agency (AECID according to its acronym in Spanish) and from the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance in Guatemala.  This meeting represents the second learning module of the LIHP, a nine month program that is conducted primarily online through the Virtual Campus for Public Health. The face-to-face meeting is an opportunity for participants to present their preliminary country project proposal.

“One of the primary goals of international health professionals is to improve the health situation in developing countries; this is a major challenge that requires them to face important problems” said Dr. Mayarí Centeno, Inter-institutional Coordinator for the Guatemalan Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance. “The training approach [of the Program], which focuses on international cooperation, human rights, trade, development, science and technology, culture and security, guarantees the development of international health leaders that are highly qualified to act on behalf of their countries”, she added.

In this week’s meeting, the participants will discuss the conceptual model of international health used by the LIHP and its relevance for the countries. The participants will also strengthen their skills, such as those in negotiation and communication, as well as those designed to ensure competencies for leadership in the field of international health.

An important part of the LIHP is the development of a country project in collaboration with the PAHO/WHO Country Office and other national, regional and/or international organizations. Before the meeting in Antigua, the participants worked with key actors from their respective PAHO/WHO Offices and with other stakeholders to discuss preliminary ideas for their country projects.  During the face-to-face meeting in Guatemala, they will continue to work on their projects with the support of their assigned mentors and other experts.

Upon returning to their respective countries, the participants will share their projects with the country office, organizations and other stakeholders for additional input which will help guide the project throughout the rest of the Program.

The PAHO/WHO Leaders in International Health Program began in 1985 as an on-site training program based at PAHO Headquarters in Washington, DC. A total of 182 health professionals were trained under the original Program modality. Since 2008, the LIHP has been offered virtually and 273 health professionals have participated to date.


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