Some scientific studies have revealed that, in Latin America, the death rate caused by chronic non-communicable diseases (including cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease) has reached 69%. In turn, it has come to the attention of scientists that the efforts in the fight against these diseases has mainly centered on monitoring and methods of observation that have no impact on the increase itself.
In Colombia, which is the third largest country in the region after Mexico and Brazil, this figure is higher than 70% and is increasing. The situation is worrying as it is the main cause of mortality and morbidity in the country.
These data are part of the Planning for a Regional Center of Research Excellence in Colombia proposal that was presented by a partnership between the faculties of medicine at Universidad de los Andes and Stanford University in order to apply to the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) tender to create a regional center for research and prevention of chronic non-communicable diseases.
The proposal made by the team of Colombian scientists and students was the winner.
Thus, the Stanford Colombia Collaboratory on Chronic Disease was born: a center of excellence for research, development, evaluation, and the promulgation of programs to prevent these types of diseases, some of which are due to physical inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle.
Olga Lucía Sarmiento, head of the team of researchers at Los Andes and director of the EpiAndes Epidemiology Group, highlights that, “Some of the objectives are: designing attendance-based and online further education courses that help remote regions in both the country and Latin America; and creating research inputs for epidemiology, biostatistics, behavioral science, etc. to prevent chronic non- communicable diseases”.
This center for excellence will allow scientists from the region to widen their knowledge. This will have an impact on the treatment of chronic non-communicable diseases with the use of technological or innovative tools that are accompanied by sports, educational, and urban planning institutions.
Researchers – doctors, psychologists, and engineers, also suggest that is important to develop the necessary infrastructure and skills to strengthen academic programs and applied research projects to promote healthy habits and prevent cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and breast cancer
Sarmiento explains that, “Another objective is to strengthen the partnership between the two institutions through two pilot studies to evaluate and promote physical activity in female survivors of breast cancer. This has not been done in Colombia and we hope to have support from the District Institute for Recreation and Sports (IDRD) and the Secretary of Health to design a program that answers these women’s needs.
Universidad de los Andes
Olga Lucía Sarmiento, director of the EpiAndes Epidemiology Group, Faculty of Medicine.
Carolyn Finck, professor in the Department of Psychology and director of Internationalization. Felipe Montes, professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering, Faculty of Engineering.
Abby King, Faculty of Medicine.
Robert Haile, Faculty of Medicine.
Lisa Rosas, Faculty of Medicine.
The material can be viewed by accessing the digital platform: ebooks.uniandes.edu.co
The delegation that represented Los Andes is comprised by students from the faculties of law, business administration, and economics.
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