The Yantalo Project Marches On

The physical plant is taking form true to its original “green” design, and Yantaló has become a center for global medicine. Since its inception, it has attracted the interest of several European and American universities. From Europe, an increasing number of volunteers have provided their skills and knowledge in the areas of public health, social work, nutrition, and languages, as an added benefit. Over the next year, Yantaló is expected to complete formal agreements with the University of Lund, Sweden and the University of Greenwich, Great Britain. Additionally, a five year partnership with the Department of Pediatrics of the University of Lyon Medical School, France will be formalized.

From the US, Yantaló has had working relationships with the University of Rochester School of Medicine, Southwestern University in Dallas, John Hopkins University, Baylor College of Medicine, Central Florida University, University of Michigan, Yale University, University of California at Los Angeles and the University of Southern California. Formal agreements with the Universities of Wisconsin and Illinois continue to be very productive. In Perú, Yantaló has a formal agreement with “Instituto Nacional de Salud,” and there are plans to have similar agreements with Universidad San Martin de Porres, Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas, Universidad Ricardo Palma, Universidad Científica del Sur, and Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos.

The annual number of volunteers averages 40 students and 20 professors of Medicine, Public Health, and Clinical Psychology. Representatives from sixteen countries have shared their time, skills, and knowledge. There are many volunteers who spend 6 weeks to 8 months working on their papers and/or dissertations for their masters or doctoral degrees. Other beneficiaries are the newly graduated Peruvian physicians (Serumistas) who are fulfilling their year of obligatory rural work.

An example of the work done in Yantaló is demonstrated by students Donna Lee, Emily Redman and Kristina Warner from the Rochester University School of Medicine who this year conducted research on the “Maternal Characteristics as Determinants of Breastfeeding Practices.” Their well designed research project was proctored by Dr. Elizabeth Brown, Assistant Professor, University of Rochester and by Dr. C. Luis Vasquez.

The founder, inspiration and driving force for the Yantaló project has been PAMS member Dr. C. Luis Vasquez. In recent recognition of his extraordinary work, he was invited to deliver a keynote presentation at “Cleanzone 2013,” a Trade Fair and Congress held in Frankfurt, Germany. The event focuses on areas of Technology, Microtechnology, and Life Sciences, where “clean and sterile” technologies are applied. Dr. Vasquez presentation was titled “Cleanroom: a major challenge for a diagnostic center in Yantaló, a rural district in the Peruvian Amazon.” To quote the President of the Congress Anja Diete, “It was a great pleasure to meet you and listen to your lecture about your fascinating work in Yantaló! I thought it was really special and gave us all an impression that access to technology, trained staff and helpful work tools are not to be taken for granted all over the world - and that serious and meaningful work is being done nevertheless...!”

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