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Partnership for Impact: Penn in Latin America

As a designated World Health Organization Collaborating Center in Nursing and Midwifery for the Americas region, the School collaborates with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and a network of governments, health ministers, and networks throughout the region. Now, Penn Nursing is taking the lead in coordinating Penn’s overall impact in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Last December, Penn Nursing hosted more than 80 people representing 9 of the University’s 12 schools, the Penn Health System and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, to begin dialogue to explore synergies and best practices to advance the engagement and funding of activities for both faculty and students in Latin America and the Caribbean. This dialogue continued with the first annual conference on Penn in Latin America and the Caribbean, hosted by Penn Nursing on September 16. Identified by Penn Global, the University’s strategic arm for global endeavors, as a vitally important region, it has been the least developed in terms of broad cross-School partnerships. 

The time is more critical than ever to partner with Latin American and Caribbean countries and their institutions to learn from each other, and advance equity and progress in their countries along with our own. The changing demographics in Philadelphia, our major urban centers and our country as a whole require active equity and progress in their countries along with our own. The changing demographics in Philadelphia, our major urban centers and our country as a whole require active engagement in learning from and serving Latin American and Caribbean populations here and abroad. Hispanics are currently estimated to make up 17% of the U.S. population, the nation’s largest ethnic or race minority, and they are projected to represent 31% by 2060. Despite growth in the population, Hispanics/Latinos, as a group, face economic and social barriers in this country, and are overrepresented in low-income jobs and underrepresented in professional employment.

Penn continues to foster faculty and students who are world citizens, thinkers and entrepreneurs with deep interest in this region. Penn Nursing Dean Villarruel counts her own personal and professional interests and programs of research in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Latino Communities across the United States, and is committed to nursing’s leadership role in bringing about change in these areas. 

 

“As a nurse and a Latina, I recognize the integral role of nursing in bettering the lives of so many people and the responsibility we have, many of us as Latinos, to inspire, to serve and to collaborate in bringing positive change to the most vulnerable of populations both here and in our hemisphere,” said Dean Villarruel, “There are so many strengths here at Penn and Penn Nursing for us to leverage and make some real progress in a region that has historical connections to our country and to so many of our people.”