Mailman Looks to Strengthen Joint Education, Research with Universidad Mayor

The goal is to expand on the exchange program with the University's Research Center on Society and Health.

August 10, 2023

Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health is looking to expand its education and research collaboration with a Santiago research center, with the assistance of the Global Center in Santiago.

Carole (“Carly”) Hutchinson, adjunct assistant professor in the Sociomedical Sciences Department of the Mailman School of Public Health, visited Chile at the beginning of August to advance the school's education and research cooperation agreement with Universidad Mayor’s Research Center on Society and Health (CISS, its Spanish acronym).

“We have a great desire to collaborate and broaden the exchange of global experiences for it to be a reciprocal, two-way experience," Hutchinson said. "We're talking about ways we could have that kind of collaboration online to bring multiple disciplines together."

Hutchinson met with CISS director, Universidad Mayor dean of the School of Social Sciences and Arts, and Mailman professor Esteban Calvo.

The idea is for Universidad Mayor and Columbia students to come together to take advantage of this joint experience, according to Calvo.

“We are thinking that a theme could be participatory community research, so that students come together in the two countries and address a challenge, such as suicide or drought,” he said.

The two institutions are looking to advance in educational globalization with the implementation of the Collaborative Online International Learning methodology.

“Our students come from six different departments - environmental health sciences, population and family health, sociomedical sciences, epidemiology, biostatistics and health policy management - so the work is incredibly diverse and intersects with a lot of that being carried out here, with very diverse programs, degrees, and approaches,” Hutchinson said.

While in Chile, she met with current Columbia Mailman students at CISS who are performing their field practicum, known as the applied practice experience. This program, which forms part of the graduation requirement, consists of a planned, supervised, and evaluated practice experience where students can explore their passion, gain real world skills, and apply classroom teachings.

She also met with professors involved in the CISS program to thank them for their dedication and define areas for improvement and expansion, including possible training for supervisors in the applied program.

In presenting on this program, Hutchinson told the CISS faculty that it is based on eight foundational competency areas: evidence-based approaches to public health, public health and health care systems, planning and management to promote health, public health policy, leadership, communication, interprofessional practice and systems thinking.

“Our students choose to come to Chile and work with CISS because of its powerful, world-class research,” she said. “They want to improve their skills as part of a cohort, and the subject matter is a draw as well as the geographical region.”

In 2021, Mailman signed a memorandum of understanding with Universidad Mayor to further develop in the areas of education and research and to build upon the foundation already established between both institutions.

Calvo kicked off the “Building Healthier Societies” program in 2018 to promote international research collaboration, and since then, collaborative activities carried out between Mailman and Universidad Mayor include: 37 scientific publications focused on three thematic areas: aging and life course, mental health and substance use, and comparative public policies; US$ 768,000 in funded proposals to support research collaboration; and several exchange students and researchers working in an international environment.