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Center of Excellence in Medical Informatics in Santiago de Chile

Project Leadership:
Prof. Dr. H. Dickhaus

Project Partners: Dr. S. Haertel, Universidad de Chile, Dr. W. Eckel (Heidelberg-Center Latin America)

Cooperations: Prof. Dr. W. Schlegel (DKFZ Heidelberg)

Funding: Auswärtiges Amt (German Ministry of Foreign Affairs) / DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service)

In 2009 the Research and Academic Relations Initiative of the German Government raised a competitive tender among German universities for the founding of Excellence Centers in Research and Teaching. The University of Heidelberg succeeded to establish such a center for Medical Informatics at the Heidelberg Center for Latin America in direct collaboration with the Universidad de Chile (UCH) in Santiago.
Activities are furthermore coordinated with local academical experts of various institutions, industrial partners and policy makers within the health care system in Chile.

Core objective within the academical realm of the program was the installation of a 2-year Master's curriculum in Medical Informatics at the UCH; with currently 15 students enrolled a satisfactory acceptance has already been achieved. It is conducted in close coordination with the well established program in Medical Informatics at the University of Heidelberg in cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences Heilbronn. This includes an extensive export of German lecturers which is intended to pave the way for the installation of a formal double degree between the universities involved. Associated activities foster academical training in Chile, e.g. Summer Schools, Diplomados and PhD courses.

In addition to promote academical capacity building, an establishment of research cooperations is within the scope of the program’s perspective. This comprises bidirectional PhD exchanges and the initiation of innovative projects between Chilean and German teachers and researchers. Current joint projects pertain e.g. to the genetic analysis of oncological diseases, psychotherapy and palliative care.

Beyond the establishment of the project within Chile an extended impact to other regions of Latin America is intended. There are already participants from other countries of Latin America enrolled in the Master’s curriculum and cooperational ties have been established with academical institutions involved in topics of Medical Informatics, e.g. in Argentina and Uruguay.

Autumn 2013 saw a successful evaluation of the project, implicating an extension for five further years.

Duration: 2009-2017, extension until 2019 imminent.

Project staff: D. Karch, R. Metzner, P. Knaup, H. Dickhaus

Organigram: Coordination of the four sub-projects - in addition to Medical Informatics: Medical Physics, Astronomy and Geosciences - is provided at the International Relations Office of the University of Heidelberg. In Chile, alongside the partnering Universidad de Chile, the Heidelberg Center for Latin America is substantially involved in the coordination of the numerous academical activities.