Other Border Crossings

Dr. Ricardo GonzalezUnder the leadership of the Ettling Center's Director, Dr. Ricardo González, a group of 15 nominated student leaders will participate in a service mission trip to San Cristóbal, Guanajuato, Mexico, from July 17 - 21, 2023. The service mission program includes leadership conversations with former President of Mexico Vicente Fox and his wife, Marta Fox, who both continue to spearhead several service initiatives to help their community through their Centro Fox, a strategic partner of the Lewis Center of the Americas. In March of 2022, President Fox visited the UIW campus in San Antonio at the invitation of the Lewis Center, to help us launch the UIW Leaders of the Americas speaker series, delivering a speech titled "Immigration: Challenges and Opportunities for Our Next Generation of Leaders". During his visit, UIW and Centro Fox entered into the agreement of collaboration that has paved the way for Mr. Fox’s support of  UIW programming such as this forthcoming study abroad program to Guanajuato. 

This mission program does not complement a UIW course.

Email: studyabroad@uiwtx.edu for further information.

Note: Application is by nomination only.

Dr. Jeannette Wong PowellDr. Jeannette Wong-Powell was invited by the Fundación Universitaria del Área Andina (Areandina) to travel to their Bogotá campus as a visiting scholar in September to collaborate with students and faculty. During her visit, Dr. Wong-Powell gave multiple academic lectures, co-led a service-learning clinical experience, served as a reviewer for a scientific article, and began working with colleagues on a manuscript titled "The Effects of Providing Advanced Training to Optometry Students through Eye Care Outreach." By the time Dr. Wong-Powell arrived in Bogotá, she had already established strong relationships with many faculty members, having spent months preparing and connecting through virtual platforms. Dr. Wong-Powell’s visit took our relationship with a valued sister school to yet another level and opened up the possibility for collaboration, including in fields outside of her field of optometry. Dr. Wong-Powell will likely be crossing borders again in the near future, being that she is an approved Fulbright Specialist, with a tenure that extends into the spring of 2026.

Dr. David Vequist This fall marked the launch of a year-long training program by UIW’s Center for Medical Tourism Research (CMTR) in collaboration with the Mexican federal government’s Secretaría de Economía and Secretaría de Turismo. The program is designed to help business leaders and doctors in the medical field work together to develop regional industry clusters that will attract more medical tourists and improve services and infrastructure in regions throughout Mexico. With over 90 industry professionals enrolled in the program, a second section of the program will open in February at the request of Mexico’s Secretaría de Turismo (SECTUR). Course lectures are delivered mainly virtually, due to the geographic disbursement of participants, representing more than 10 states across Mexico. Nonetheless, Dr. Vequist traveled to Mexico City to deliver a preliminary session at the Secretaría de Economía headquarters, and to the city of Tijuana, to offer one of his training sessions in person at the Baja California Third Medical and Health Forum and Expo.

Dr. Roberto FajardoDr. Fajardo is Colombian and has been co-leading a pediatric medical mission to Neiva, Colombia, for 15 years. Although Dr. Fajardo now lives permanently in the United States, he maintains strong connections and relationships in Colombia. These have helped him advance the mission as part of the Healing the Children-Florida nonprofit organization. The Neiva mission, founded by his father 27 years ago, is the longest-running pediatric medical mission to one site in South America. During the program's 27 years, the mission’s medical and support team has provided free surgical care to over 4,000 children, along with speech therapy to cleft patients and hundreds of free dental care treatments. The program started with approximately 25 clinical staff members in 1993 and now includes over 100. The volunteer staff includes individuals from UT Health San Antonio, Staten Island University Hospital, Columbia College of Dentistry, Harvard Medical School and, of course, UIW. The diverse team, including medical students and U.S. and Colombian residents, works seamlessly with local physicians and staff. Beyond the obvious benefits to the patients receiving treatment, there are also wonderful benefits to the team providing care. Among these are the educational benefits. The mission program is, in fact, now integrated into the UIW School of Osteopathic Medicine curriculum.