Mexico's federal health care agency chose the Health Science Center in part because the two institutions have a common stake in a common region, officials said.
"The health problems of our two countries do not stop at the border. The cures, the scientific breakthroughs and the solutions to our health problems do not stop at the border, either," said John P. Howe III, MD, Health Science Center president, during the agreement signing ceremony at IMSS offices in Mexico City.
Dr. Howe and Licenciado Genaro Borrego Estrada, general director of IMSS, signed the agreement in August 1993. Then-U.S. Ambassador John D. Negroponte and officials from the Mexican government and Health Science Center also participated. "Lic. Borrego, you honor us with your presence and your support of this agreement," Dr. Howe said. "I know that your commitment to a healthier 21st century is as strong as ours and we are grateful for this opportunity to work with the outstanding scientists at IMSS."
The agreement includes provisions for multidisciplinary research protocols - biomedical, clinical and epidemiological - to be carried out by scientists of both institutions. The accord calls for the efficient transfer of existing technological applications and the development of new technology consistent with the needs and demands of both countries. The document also provides for a continuing exchange program for visiting scientists, physicians and graduate students.
In December, more than 20 faculty members traveled to Mexico City to take part in discussions designed to further examine other relevant areas for possible collaboration.
"This agreement is a recognition of the excellence of our faculty and of the quality of work being conducted both in San Antonio and in Mexico," said Sanford A. Miller, PhD, dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. "We look forward to working with the outstanding researchers of the Institute."
Primary Health Science Center participants will include Dr. Miller; Terry Mikiten, PhD, associate graduate dean; Miguel Medina, PhD, associate graduate dean for student affairs; and Joel Baseman, PhD, chairman of the department of microbiology. They will help coordinate activities of the agreement, with initial research focusing on the areas of cancer; infectious and parasitic disases; environmental health and toxicology; the biology of reproduction; the neurosciences; human genetics; clinical research and experimental pathology; and nutrition.
A delegation of IMSS officials spent two days at the Health Science Center in 1992 to discuss the potential collaboration. "We were able to develop great mutual respect for the work of the participants in both countries Ñ in their laboratories and in their clinical settings," Dr. Howe said.
This new, cooperative relationship proved to be one of the considerations as the IMSS sought a U.S. health science academic institution for a research partnership, he said.
"As the official health research and health provider for the Mexican government, the IMSS could certainly have chosen any research university in the country as its partner. We are pleased that this relationship has been established here."
Ambassador Negroponte was among the officials who visited the Health Science Center in 1992, Dr. Howe said. "This legacy you are helping to leave will continue to benefit both institutions Ñ and indeed, the citizens of both countries," he told Negroponte.