Eduardo García Luna
Vice Chancellor
Health Sciences at UDEM
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View from the Top

Collaboration Wll Elucidate the Future of Health

By Jan Hogewoning | Thu, 09/19/2019 - 18:05

Q: What is the mission of UDEM’s health program?
A: We offer a wide range of health-related programs, including medicine, odontology, nutrition, psychology and nursing. Our vision is to graduate professionals who can adapt to continuous change in their field. UDEM graduates should be up to date with every development and be able to learn and unlearn things. At the same time, they should gain the skills to treat patients in a professional and respectful manner. These values are applicable to every single discipline in this field.
Q: How is UDEM adapting to Mexico’s changing demographics?
A: We offer specializations focused on elderly people, like geriatric medicine and gerontological psychology. We also adapt to current developments by updating our programs. Demographic changes and environmental factors have had a significant impact on the current state of health. Some illnesses have become much more common and we may start seeing completely new ones in the future. Illnesses related to diet, environmental contamination and chronic stress are characteristic of these times. We have yet to develop all the tools to confront these challenges because understanding what causes these ailments is not just a question of biology; causes are cultural, social and economic too. This also applies to how each person experiences their sickness. How do they deal with it emotionally and where do they find support? In this context, an individual’s social situation is very relevant.
Q: How do you intend to tackle the increasing complexity of diseases?
A: It is important to take a multidisciplinary view that brings together different fields. This is reflected in the wide range of programs we offer at our university. Using the knowledge and tools from each field allows us to attack a problem from many different sides. Personalized medicine provides a good example of how a multidisciplinary approach can be used. We factor in many aspects of an individual’s life and determine the potentials risks when making a diagnosis.
In the field of pharmacology, there is a shift toward creating medications and treatments that are more specified to the individual and their particular health profile. This is aided by our increasing knowledge regarding genetics and how that is enriching our ability to predict health risks.
Q: What alliances do you have with other institutions to confront future health challenges?
A: We have strong links with both the public and private sector. Our relationships range from educational programs to internships for our students. A major highlight of this collaboration is Polaris HealthTech Center. We founded this together with Sistema de Salud Christus Muguerza and the technology entity Skye Group with the aim of creating a growing space for health startups. This project is part of the goal to make Nuevo Leon a hub for health tech.
This center can offer support in many different ways, not just bringing together expertise but also with elements such as financing and logistical support. Our goal is to confront major issues that affect large portions of the population. We believe a strong focus on technology is the only way we can prepare for the challenges of the future.
Q: How do you foresee your health programs evolving?
A: We need to be continuously evolving, visualizing what health could look like in the future. Who knows what hospitals will look like in the future? Will they be bigger or smaller? Evolution means taking a wider picture of health that includes education and prevention, while we continue to build networks between institutions and professionals. The more parties involved, both nationally and globally, the more we can achieve.

Jan Hogewoning Jan Hogewoning Journalist and Industry Analyst