UC Davis Health System has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the state of Sinaloa, Mexico, to partner to improve the health and well-being of its residents through the exchange of ideas, data and research on telehealth, scientific and technical development, and neurodevelopmental disorders.
Sinaloa has partnered with UC Davis because of the health system's internationally recognized leadership in telehealth technology and neurodevelopmental research, said Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, who directs the UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities and community engagement for the UC Davis Clinical and Translational Science Center.
Approximately 27 percent of Sinaloa's population lives in rural settings. The Government and Secretariat of Health of Sinaloa have pledged to strengthen the state's health infrastructure and to increase access to quality health care using telehealth technology, particularly for populations residing in remote rural areas.
"The government of Sinaloa is interested in creating the infrastructure to support telemedicine and telehealth services to significantly improve access to primary-care services for its nearly 3 million residents," said Aguilar-Gaxiola, a professor of clinical internal medicine.
"They also would like UC Davis to share its expertise in autism and fragile X syndrome with Mexican health professionals and families to improve early identification, diagnosis and treatment," Aguilar-Gaxiola said. "A third goal is to foster scientific and technical development to support health education primarily aimed at primary-care settings."
UC Davis is a national leader in extending access to health-care services to rural and underserved areas through telehealth. The UC Davis Center for Health and Technology uses high-speed data lines linked to video units to connect large, urban medical centers with community hospitals and clinics. The technology allows specialists and subspecialists to consult with community physicians and their patients via live, interactive videoconferencing.
Similarly, the UC Davis MIND Institute is internationally known for its leading-edge research into neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorders and fragile X syndrome. The institute's world renowned scientists engage in research to find improved treatments, as well as causes and cures, for autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), fragile X syndrome, Tourette syndrome and other neurodevelopmental conditions.
The MOU with Sinaloa is the most recent affiliation between UC Davis Health System and a Mexican entity.
Earlier this year, health system leaders traveled to Mexico City to forge a similar MOU with the Instituto Carlos Slim de la Salud (the Carlos Slim Health Institute), A.C. That agreement is focused on raising awareness of mental-health issues and sharing useful and innovative information to enable the early identification of autism and fragile X syndrome. Founded in 2007, the institute promotes research, develops initiatives and funds projects to address health challenges that affect Mexico and the broader Latin American region.
And in 2010, UC Davis Health System partnered with Shriners Hospital for Children -- Northern California and the Mexican Health Ministry to establish a burn fellowship program for physicians from Mexico. The 12-month fellowship program trains two physicians each year in resuscitation and burn-care management, reconstructive surgery and clinical research.