In anticipation to the Penn in Latin America and the Caribbean (PLAC) interest group meeting on December 15, 2014, participants were asked to submit stories on their background and involvement in the region. Please click on a name to read her/his story.

  • Charlene Compher, PhD, RD | Nutrition | Guatemala
  • Professor of Nutrition Science

    Penn Nursing

    Guatemala Penn Partners

    1.    Current Projects:

    ·      Nutrition in San Juan Comalapa and Atitlan, Guatemala

    ·      Collaborators are:

                                          i.     Kent Bream, MD, SOM

                                        ii.     Frances Bart, PhD, SOM

                                       iii.     Erwin Calgua, MD, Penn MSCE student, Faculty at University of San Carlo, Guatemala City

                                       iv.     Cinthya Pinetta, MS, Faculty at University of Rafael Landivar, Guatemala City

                                         v.     Project is part of Guatemala Penn Partners

    2.    Potential Future Projects:

    ·      The nutrition transition is a framework that describes how countries move from having poor growth in children to overweight and obesity in both children and adults as they undergo economic development and urbanization.

    ·      Guatemala is at an early stage of this transition, the US is at the other end of the spectrum, and other Latin American countries are probably on a continuum between Guatemala and the U.S.

    ·      I would be very interested in doing cross-country comparisons of data and responses to nutrition problems.

    3.    Ideas about how to include new colleagues from other disciplines and schools across campus; including opportunities for embedded courses and participation of students.

    ·      My work to date in Guatemala includes faculty with academic training in nutrition (2), medicine (2), and anthropology (1). We are very open to contributions that others from different backgrounds can make to our work there.

    ·      If we are successful at obtaining some biological samples related to one of our projects, we will also add a laboratory analyst to our group.

    ·      I have been working to learn Spanish and am definitely open to having students work with any efforts that I make in Spanish-speaking countries as well as teaching there (hopefully in English).

  • Charles Branas, PhD | Chronic Disease, Trauma and Injury+ | Guatemala
  • Professor of Epidemiology in Biostatistics and Epidemiology

    Biostatistics and Epidemiology, PSOM                                           

    ·              A multi-university partnership emerged in 2006 between Penn and the Universidad de San Carlo Guatemala (USAC) and Universidad de Francisco Marroquín (UFM), the leading public (USAC) a private (UFM) academic institutions in Guatemala; Rafael Espada, MD, former Vice President of Guatemala and former Director of the Guatemalan Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONCYT), the equivalent to the US National Institutes of Health; rural hospitals and clinics, inclu Hospitalito Atitlán (as above) and Clínica Bárbara in San Juan Sacatépequez; urban hospitals, including Hospital Esperanza, affiliated with UFM, and Roosevelt Hospital, affiliated with USAC, which are located in Guatemala City; the Guatemalan National Commission of Trauma; and IND a dermatology institute in Guatemala City for all of Central America. Memoranda of Understandin (MOUs) have been signed to formalize relationships between USAC and Penn and UFM and Pe

    ·              From 2011-2016, a Penn chronic diseases NIH Fogarty International Center-funded program pro research training for USAC and UFM scientists. The program is led by Dr. Charles Branas as PI ( and Dr. Fran Barg as Co-PI (SOM) at Penn, and Dr. Sergio Martinez (from UFM) and Dr. Erwin C (from USAC) in Guatemala. Numerous other Penn, UFM, and USAC faculty and staff, notably Biomedical Library leadership, also participate. The program includes two pathways: (1) an Independent Investigator research training program for Guatemalans spending time in in-residen Penn and leading to the Penn Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology (MSCE) degree; and (2 Associate Investigator research training program for a Penn Research Certificate, consisting of si courses, taught in Guatemala and in Spanish by Penn faculty, along with UFM and USAC faculty the Independent Investigators. To date, 6 Independent Investigators have enrolled and 2 have re the Penn MSCE degree; 27 Associate Investigators have enrolled and 20 have received Penn Research Certificates.

    ·              From 2012-2017, a Penn trauma and injury NIH Fogarty International Center-funded program pro research training for USAC and UFM scientists. The program is led by Dr. Branas as PI (SOM) a Terry Richmond as Co-PI (SON) at Penn, and Dr. Sergio Martinez (from UFM) and Dr. Erwin Cal (from USAC) in Guatemala. Numerous other Penn, UFM, and USAC faculty and staff, notably Biomedical Library leadership, also participate. The program includes two pathways: (1) an Independent Investigator research training program for Guatemalans spending time in in-residen Penn and leading to the Penn Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology (MSCE) degree or the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree; and (2) an Associate Investigator research training progra a Penn Research Certificate, consisting of six courses, taught in Guatemala and in Spanish by P faculty, along with UFM and USAC faculty and the Independent Investigators. To date, 5 Indepen Investigators have enrolled and 1 has received the Penn MSCE degree; 27 Associate Investigato have enrolled and 20 have received Penn Research Certificates.

    ·              Guatemala trainee research projects completed/published or underway:

    1.           Prior violent events and mental health outcomes from a randomly sampled national survey in Guatemala (received the 2011 Lancet Outstanding Research Project of the Year)

    2.           Association between known risk factors for diabetes with hyperglycemia as measured by HbA

    3.           National study of violence following the distributions of salaries on paydays in Guatemala (vio para el dia de pago)

    4.           Low 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 serum levels and pneumonia in children: a case-control study

    5.           Child exposure to intimate partner violence and subsequent violence outcomes among Guate adults using a randomly sampled national survey

    6.           Prevalence and treatment of eczema among school-based rural Mayan children in Guatemal

    7.           Network meta-analysis of hyperthyroidism treatment options in the Guatemalan healthcare sy

    8.           Serum zinc levels and plasma glucose levels in an adult Mayan population of rural Guatemal

    9.           Analysis of the relationship between HIV and intimate partner violence in Guatemala

    10.      Interpersonal violence and dual nutritional burden in rural Guatemala: a novel syndemic?

    11.      Violence exposure and depression: factors that influence diabetes in Guatemalan Mayan life

  • Graham E. Quinn, MD | Ophthalmology | Argentina, Peru+
  • Professor of Ophthalmology at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

    Latin America projects:

    •     Argentina – evaluation of the process from recognition of an ROP blindness epidemic to passing of legislation requiring timely examinations

    o    Penn colleagues – Fran Barg, Community Medicine for mixed methods analysis; GS Ying, Department of Ophthalmology

    o    Grupo ROP, Argentinian MoH, Buenos Aires

    •     Peru – quality improvement of care of premature infants in NICUs in various cities

    o    Peruvian colleagues – Luz Gordillo, MD and Anamaria Villaneuva, MD

    o    Week long workshops with all personnel in a NICU to raise awareness and expertise

    •     Brazil, Mexico, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Panama, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Dominican Republic

    o    Workshops with neonatology, ophthalmology and NICU nursing staff – 3 days consisting of 3 hours or so of informational talks and the remainder group work and plans for moving forward.

    o    Always at the request of in-country physicians and sponsored by various NGOs (Orbis, IAPB, WHO, etc)

  • Johnny Irizarry | Student Connections | LAC Region
  • Director

    Center for Hispanic Excellence: La Casa Latina

    1.   Discussion of mechanisms and best practices to share information about the work being done by faculty, Schools and Programs in the Americas, including the possibility of creating a compendium and/or searchable database of research, education, and service activities

    Our students have told us that they want us to expand on our student to student communication/dialogues/learning from each other across borders: Penn students and students in Universities in the Caribbean and Latin America. We have done some of this work, but we definitely see ourselves fully engaged in this type of work, facilitating dialogue and opportunities for Penn students to interact and act upon in multi-media ways with each other across cultural, social, student life academic interests, politics, student voice/engagement development and support and many other topics related to facilitated student to student communications.

    2.   Identification of mechanisms for cross-School, inter-disciplinary research, service-learning, and embedded classes related to the Americas and for the engagement (and funding) of both faculty and students in such activities

    La Casa Latina would love to work in partnership with Penn departments, programs, centers and faculty and staff coordinating combined cross cultural, cross borders research among students here and there across the undergraduate and graduate programs. Our students have mentioned interest in topics such as youth culture, student life, student organizing, democracy and education, politics and higher education, equity and access to education and multiple other topics  that young scholars on both sides would want to explore, work on and develop. Including topics that are politically hot topics such as Higher Ed and youth in Cuba and those of Cuban American heritage here at Penn; similar topics related to student activism across borders such as the situation currently related to the disappearance of students in Mexico and how that has drawn the engagement in students of Mexican heritage here at Penn and across the US. Our students have mentioned the divided Puerto Rican nation where more Puerto Ricans now live in the States than in the Commonwealth, Our students from Central America are very interested in state of justice and democracy movements in their countries and of the Afro-Latin@ communities and the rights of indigenous peoples/youth across Latin America…Multiple topics such as these have come up indicating not only strong interest among our domestic Latin@ students and Latin@ International students at Penn. Not only is dialogue needed between the domestic and international Latin@ students at Penn but also there is much interests from both domestic and international Latin@ and the many opportunities for cross borders dialogues using new social media tools and traditional communication methods such as letter writing, art projects and conferencing, guest lecturers and other types of exchanges.

    3.   Identification of opportunities for the Perry World House and Penn Global to catalyze such activities, foster conversations on global challenges relevant to the Americas, and better connect Penn across the Americas

    I will continue to ask students for their feedback on what is the most ideal role of La Casa Latina in this important initiative and work, and begin to collect more concrete suggestions for programming and processes in which to join with our Colleagues in engaging our students via the work of Penn Global and the Perry World House and with our colleagues in the Academic/Research side of Penn and the students services side. 

  • Kate Morro | Alumni in LAC | LAC Region
  • Senior Associate Director of Major Gifts

    Wharton Executive Board for Latin America

    1.            Projects where you are currently involved – please include title and location(s), and name(s) and School affiliation of Penn participants

    Wharton in Latin America

    • Wharton has a regional board specifically for alumni from Latin America. I meet with alumni throughout the region to vet and recruit for this board.

    • continually coordinate travel with constituents across School and Univ throughout the region, i.e. Wharton dean, Vice Dean, faculty, admissions (grad and ugr), exec ed, Lauder, Dean of UGR admissions, etc.

    •recently met 3 of 5 wharton faculty from Brazil to try to connect them with local club and have as future speakers when in country and offer to make introductions to alumni/companies that could be helpful for their research.

    •connect alumni with career management to help provide job opportunities for Grad and Ugr students.

    • facilitate introductions for student groups to help with specific LatAm conferences, speakers, etc.

    • connect alumni with exec ed for opportunities for themselves, colleagues, employees, etc to experience Wharton education.

    2.            Projects that you would like to undertake in the future – topic and location (s)

    Wharton Global Forum

    • historically Wharton held a forum in each region where we have boards (Asia, LatAm and Europe, Middle East and Africa - EMEA) each year. Asia continues annually however LatAm and EMEA are going to more of a 24 month or more schedule. Last LatAm forum was in Panama in March 2014. Currently in conversations to host next in Mexico in 2016/2017.

    • talk with constituents on campus to develop a LatAm fund to incentivize alumni to give funds to support scholarship/fellowship for students in the region, and also provide funding for faculty to do research in the region and perhaps even create additional global modular course offerings.

    3.            A few ideas about how you might expand your work to include potential new colleagues from other disciplines / Schools across the campus; including the potential for expanding research and  offering opportunities for embedded courses and participation of students in your work

    • i have found collaborative travel to be very productive. Alumni are pleased to see the connectivity of various campus groups and in an area that has not been as well traveled in the past, they are generally thrilled to have any type of presence from school/univ.

    • happy to find more ways to make future collaboration possible

  • Katya Rascovsky, PhD | Dementia | Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Argentina
  • Research Assistant Professor

    Department of Neurology and Penn Frontotemporal Degeneration Center (PFTDC)

    Perelman School of Medicine


    Murray Grossman, MD (PFTDC, PSOM)

    Corey McMillan, PhD (PFTDC, PSOM)

    Beth McCarty-Wood, MS, CGC (CNDR, PSOM)

    Vivianna Van Deerlin, MD (CNDR, PSOM)

    EunRan Suh, PhD (CNDR, PSOM)

    Young onset dementia in Latin America – Overview:

    Young-onset neurodegenerative diseases such as frontotemporal degeneration (FTD) and early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) affect individuals in their most productive years and represent a major source of disability. As disease-modifying clinical treatment trials emerge for specific pathologies, it will be necessary to 1) improve differential diagnosis of young-onset dementias, 2) develop sensitive and specific clinical, imaging and biofluid biomarkers that can be collected easily and reliably in developed and developing countries, 3) establish patient registries to facilitate multi-center research and recruitment in clinical trials. 

    In collaboration with my colleagues at the Penn Frontotemporal Degeneration Center (PFTDC) and the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research (CNDR), it is our goal to establish sustainable clinical research collaborations between Penn and several dementia centers in Latin America.  We are building research capacity at these sites by developing and implementing standardized methods of clinical assessment, imaging and genetics, as well as data handling, analysis and transfer. This partnership aims to create the critical infrastructure necessary for a Latin American Registry for Dementia which will facilitate collaborations between Latino dementia centers in the US and abroad.

    Currently, we have ongoing projects with the following centers:

    1.     Memory Clinic and Institute on Aging, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia (MCIA). Supported by Fogarty R21 NIH grant (AG046499).

    2.     Peru Young-Onset Dementia Network (PYN), a consortium of researchers at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (UPCH), Clínica Internacional and DPI Imaging Center in Lima, Peru   Supported by Penn-Peru Pilot Study Grant.

    3.     Instituto Nacional de Neurología y Neurocirugía “Manuel Velasco Suárez” (INNN) in Mexico City, Mexico.  Supported by PFTDC and the Wyncote Foundation. 

    4.     Fundación para la Lucha contra las Enfermedades Neurológicas de la Infancia (FLENI) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Supported by PFTC and the Wyncote Foundation. 

    Future projects

    We would love to expand this model to study other neurodegenerative conditions, particularly Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).  This can be done in Colombia and Argentina.

    Ideas for collaboration

    There are many opportunities for collaboration with Penn students and colleagues, particularly in the fields of nursing, psychology and public health.  We are in the beginning stages of our project and would welcome input and help from interested bilingual collaborators.  We would also like to offer our Latin American colleagues the opportunity for training, rotations and classes here at Penn.

  • Deborah A. Thomas, PhD | Ethnographic Research | Jamaica
  • Professor of Anthropology and Africana Studies

    I have been conducting long-term ethnographic research in Jamaica since 1992, with several months- or year-long stints.  Each year, I probably spend about a month in Jamaica, but in shorter trips throughout the year because of teaching and family schedules.  I have published two single author books (as well as edited volumes and journal articles) from this research, as well as directed and produced a documentary film.  My current projects arise out of many years doing research on violence, and are as follows:

    “What Sovereignty Feels Like:  Entanglements, Circulations, Archives”

    This book project probes some of the questions that often arise about state violence outside the context of active war:  Why does the state “crack down” – on a movement or on individuals – when it does?  When does a threat become unbearable and actionable?  What are the entanglements that matter?  When do they matter?  And what is more threatening to the maintenance of normative governance, the institutional structures of alternative social movements or the affective dimensions of “feeling sovereignty”?  This project draws from research conducted with community members in Tivoli Gardens, Clarendon (among members of Claudius Henry’s International Peacemakers Association), and Pinnacle (the first Rastafari compound) to think through the dynamics of twentieth and early-21st century entanglements in Jamaica among colonial and nationalist governments, prominent local capitalists, and the transnational illicit trade in narcotics.  More broadly, What Sovereignty Feels Like is a story about the dissolution of (British) imperialism and the shifting vectors of (American) empire.  It provides a vision into the complexities of interest among diverse and shifting stakeholders within a transnational analytic frame over time, as well as a foundational narrative for the forms of state violence and illicit entanglement we see in the contemporary moment.  It proposes to take seriously the affective dimensions of sovereignty in relation to strategies of historically contextualized governance and endurance, and seeks to develop a metanarrative about the practices and meanings surrounding ethnographic and historical archives.

    “Tivoli Stories”

    This is a multi-media collaborative installation/public art project addressing the state of emergency that began in Jamaica in May 2010 to apprehend and extradite Christopher “Dudus” Coke.  On 24 May, police and military forces entered Tivoli Gardens and other West Kingston communities, yet by the end of that week, Dudus had not been found and at least 73 civilians had been killed.  Tivoli Stories is designed to provide a platform through which participating West Kingston community members can narrate their experiences during those weeks, and name and publicly memorialize loved ones they lost.  It is meant to contribute to a healing process in which historical silences are broken through audio and visual forms of storytelling (generated ethnographically and artistically), while also contributing to the efforts of human rights activists locally and internationally working on issues related to state violence and extrajudicial killing.

  • Lourdes DelRosso, MD | Pediatrics / Sleep Medicine | Peru+
  • Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

    Sleep Medicine Physician

    1.         Projects where you are currently involved – please include title and location(s), and name(s) and School affiliation of Penn participants

    I recently joined Maura Murphy, the program manager of CHOP’s global health center, and a group of health allies in a trip to the Dominican Republic for a week. During this trip we participated in health fairs and in education of community health promoters.

    2.         Projects that you would like to undertake in the future – topic and location (s)

    I would like to participate in community education, health fairs and education of health professionals anywhere in Latin America.

    I am from Peru and I know physicians in Peru that I could potentially network with

    3.         A few ideas about how you might expand your work to include potential new colleagues from other disciplines / Schools across the campus; including the potential for expanding research and  offering opportunities for embedded courses and participation of students in your work

    a.         I would like to teach sleep medicine

    b.         We could implement online courses (MOOC)

    c.         We could invite students/residents to rotate in specific disciplines

  • Manuel de la Cruz Gutiérrez, PhD |Research / Knowledge Management | Mexico+
  • Research and Knowledge Management Liaison Librarian

    University of Pennsylvania Libraries

    Biomedical Library

    - I’m a Mexican-American health sciences librarian, born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and a native speaker of Spanish.

    - I’m interested in helping organize and make accessible for all the Penn community the information derived from this meeting —and updates thereafter.

    - I’m also interested and ready to help find out information on Latin America for all of the Penn community

    - Regions of interest: All of Latin America, but have deep knowledge of and connections in Mexico, particularly, Guadalajara and Mexico City. 

  • Maura Murphy | Global Health Center / Pediatrics | Dominican Republic
  • Program Manager, Global Health Center

    CHOP in the Dominican Republic

    Clinical Care

    ·      Primary care program for approximately 450 children under-5 in 6 resource-poor barrios (neighborhoods) in the Dominican Republic, called Niños Primeros en Salud (NPS)

    ·      Primary focus on access to primary care, immunizations, nutrition, breastfeeding, de-worming and community education

    ·      Collaboration with local non-profit HIV organization (Clinica de Familia, La Romana)

    ·      Global Health Fellowship- CHOP pediatrician lives and works in DR for two years, providing clinical care and research capacity to NPS and Clinica de Familia


    ·      Past research projects included: improving the rates of breastfeeding in the community, the impact of fathers on the health of children, QI projects in clinic setting

    ·      Ongoing research projects include: The impact of attitudes towards vaccines safety in developing countries, environmental health in the DR, nutrition education assessment


    ·      Site for over 72 pediatric residents from Robert Reid Cabral Children’s Hospital in Santo Domingo. Dominican residents spend 1 month at NPS site to complete a community health rotation. 

    ·      Training site for CHOP and Penn pediatric or med-peds residents

    ·      CHOP staff led training program for community health workers in Consuelo (week long training every 6 months)

    ·      Undergraduate immersion program (DR)- week long immersion program in Consuelo for Penn undergraduates interested in learning more about the healthcare system in the DR

    Looking Ahead

    ·      Increase capacity to host more Spanish-speaking US residents interested in completing a global health rotation in the Caribbean

    ·      Partner with existing schools at UPENN interested in running global health courses, field schools, summer internships

    ·      Increase number of research partners and research projects (specifically community based research and ID research)

    ·      Develop ID training program for Dominican residents (Fogarty grant)

    Further develop undergraduate immersion program

  • Eileen Lake, PhD, RN |Health Outcomes Research | Chile
  • Associate Professor

    Penn Nursing

    1.     Current Projects:

    ·      RN4Cast – Chile

    ·      Collaborators are:

    o   Linda Aiken (PI)

    o   Eileen Lake

    o   Matthew McHugh

    o   Doug Sloane

    o   Olga Jarrín

    o   María Consuelo Cerón Mackay, Universidad de los Andes, Escuela de Enfermería

    o   Universidad Católica

    ·      National study of determinants of quality of healthcare in Chile and to build a sustained nurse-led interdisciplinary health services research capacity in Chile.

    2.     Potential Future Projects:

    ·      We anticipate that once this nurse-led research project in Chile is developed that other Latin American countries will replicate it.

    3.     Potential new colleagues from other disciplines/schools; participation of students

    ·      Presently we have the disciplines of nursing and sociology participating.  Our pre-and postdoctoral students are participating.

  • Emilio A. Parrado, PhD | Migration+ | LAC Region
  • Professor and Chair

    Department of Sociology

    Director of Latin American and Latino Studies

    Overall research agenda

    •       Latin American immigration to the U.S.

    –      Immigration, social change, and health

    –      Immigrant adaptation

    •       Inter-regional migration in Latin America

    –      Paraguayan and Peruvian migration to Argentina

    –      Immigration, integration, and legal context in South America

    •       Social and demographic change in Latin America

    –      Family and fertility behaviors

    –      Labor force and education

    Current projects

    •       Immigration and fertility in the U.S.

    –      Emphasis on Hispanic fertility (NIH funding)

    –      Potential transnational component: fertility at origin

    •       Abortion legalization and fertility change in Mexico

    –      Potential extension: data collection in Mexico

    •       Inter-regional migration in South America

    –      Collaborator: Marcela Cerrutti (Cenep-Argentina)

    •       Pilot study on HIV risks and health care access among Mexican and Central American Immigrants in South Philadelphia

    –      Broader focus on the socioeconomic conditions and migration patterns of the South Philadelphia Latino immigrant community

    –      Partnership between CFAR-Sociology-Casa Monarca

    Potential expansion

    •       Multiple possibilities for linking immigration and global issues in Philadelphia

    –      Transnational approach

    •       Inter-regional migration in Latin America is becoming increasingly relevant

    –      Relates to issues of legal regulation, labor market, regional integration, citizenship, adaptation, etc.

    •       On-going interest in demographic change

    –      Fertility decline and aging

    –      Aging and inequality

    –      Old age support

  • Rogers Smith, PhD | Citizenship/Social Status+ | Mexico, Puerto Rico+
  • Professor of Political Science

    Associate Dean for Social Sciences

    1) My scholarship is primarily concerned with exploring empirical and normative issues concerning the political and legal construction of U.S. citizenship, historically and today.  Consequently, I am only tangentially a scholar of Latin America. But my concerns have led me to work on the Mexican American war and the civic statuses of the populations the U.S. acquired through it; the Spanish American war and the statuses of the U.S. territories acquired through it, including Puerto Rico; and many dimensions of Latin American immigration to the U.S., past and present.  I am currently a contributor to a federal lawsuit that seeks to win recognition of 14th Amendment birthright citizenship for those born in all U.S. territories, including Puerto Rico. 

    2)  My work on U.S. citizenship has led me to a comparative interest in how civic statuses are constructed in other societies, with particular focus on the role of racial ideologies in defining political and social status.  In that regard I have given some attention to the place of race in various Latin American political communities and the variants of mestizo racial ideology found in several of them.

    3) As a public law scholar, I also teach and occasionally write about judicial power in comparative perspective, and in that capacity I and my students have devoted attention to the judicial systems in various Latin American countries.

  • Sean Hennessy, PharmD, PhD | Chagas / Antibiotics | Peru
  • Together with Mike Levy, I co-lead Penn's global health partnership with Cayetano Heredia University in Lima, Peru. This program includes Mike's extensive research program in Chagas disease that is based in Arequipa; a series of studies on the use of antibiotics in dairy cattle performed by Laurel Redding, a recent epidemiology PhD graduate; and supporting several completed and ongoing pilot projects.

  • Tulia Falleti, PhD | Participation in Community Institutions | Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador+
  • Associate Professor, Political Science

    1. Projects I am currently involved on:

    ·      Post-Neoliberal Latin America, with Emilio Parrado, DCC program (SAS).

    ·      Prior consultation of indigenous communities, in oil and gas extraction locations, in Bolivia and Ecuador (with Thea Riofrancos) SAS

    ·      Local community participatory projects in the health sector in Argentina (these were 200 projects carried out in 2006-7). Data on projects was collected. Data must now be organized and analyzed.

    ·      Local community participation in Latin America (one paper is on Bolivia before and after the left turn—in collaboration with Emmerich Davies--, another paper is a synchronic cross-national comparison—in collaboration with Mason Moseley). SAS

    2.  Projects that you would like to undertake in the future – topic and location

    ·      Study of civil society participation in local health councils in Brazil.

    ·      Study of misiones in Venezuela

    ·      Decentralization and opportunities for local participation and development in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia (This project would be carried out with/for Directorate General for Development and Cooperation - EuropeAid – of the European Commission).

    3. A few ideas about how you might expand your work to include potential new colleagues from other disciplines / Schools across the campus; including the potential for expanding research and offering opportunities for embedded courses and participation of students in your work

    ·      I look forward to collaborating with colleagues with statistical and experimental expertise to develop papers that would test hypothesis about why people participate in local community institutions. Moreover, what is the impact of such participation in the delivery of public goods? Does community participation affect local politics?

    I have been teaching and working with colleagues in private and public universities in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. I would look forward to creating or leading opportunities for Penn students’ research and training abroad

  • Jere R. Behrman, PhD | Economics / Sociology | Chile, Peru, Guatemala, Mexico+
  • Professor of Economics and Sociology

    Research Associate of Population Studies Center

    I.  Currently Ongoing Externally-Funded Projects with Significant LAC Components

    1) NICHD R01 HD 065436-04 (PI: Jere R. Behrman)                                              9/20/2010-5/30/2015

    “Early Child Development Programs: Effective Interventions for Human Development” - Investigating a rich new data set with a national representative longitudinal sample of 15,000 children initially 0-5y of age and their families with linked data that permit extensive characterization of the children and their family members and the ECD programs to which they have been exposed in Chile.

    2)  Global Health Grant OPP1032713 (PI: Jere R. Behrman)            11/1/11-6/30/15

    Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

    ”Early child growth and development in four countries: Young Lives”

    Investigating the impact of agricultural productivity, household permanent and transitory income and community characteristics on nutritional status and growth trajectories in early life and then their indirect effects on cognitive and non-cognitive development and school performance, as of age 8 using Young Lives data from rounds 1-3 when children were 1, 5 and 8 years of age. Includes a range of studies on Peru, some comparative with Ethiopia, India and Vietnam.

    3)  NICHD R01 HD 070993 (PI: K Dearden, BU, UP PI JR. Behrman)      6/15/12-5/31/16         

     “Growth Recovery, Schooling and Cognitive Achievement: Evidence from Four Cohorts”

    The project is investigating the impact of growth recovery on schooling and cognitive achievement in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam.

     4)  NICHD R01 HD075869  (MPI: MZ Levy, AM Buttenheim) 7/1/14-6/30/19  Co-Investigator           

     “Improving participation in vector control campaigns through behavioral economics”

    This project addresses low participation in door-to-door community health initiatives through three interventions informed by behavioral economics: responsive scheduling with advance commitment, neighbor recruitment, and contingent group lotteries. We assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of these interventions for a Chagas disease vector control campaign in Peru.

    5)  Principal Investigator, National Institute of Aging (NIA)/ Population Aging Research Center (PARC) P30 Pilot project on “Early Life to Mature Adulthood: Guatemalan INCAP Health and Socioeconomic Data,” September 14, 2014 to June 30, 2015.  Following up on individuals 0-7 years of age during nutritional supplement experiment in 1969-1977 who will be 38-52 years old in 2015.

    II. Possible Future Projects and Collaborations

    1)  Extension of I-1 to school ages in Chile

    2)  NIA application on aging based on I-2 for Guatemala

    3)  NIH application on intergenerational relations based on I-2 for Guatemala

    4)  Intergenerational mobility in LAC building on past studies with World Bank and with El Centro de     Estudios Espinosa Yglesias (ceey) y su programa sobre Movilidad Social en México

    Open to conversations about possible collaborations (e.g., some preliminary ones underway with Charles Branas on mutual interests for 2 and 3.

  • Sharon Ravitch, PhD | Education Leadership | Chile, Nicaragua+
  • Senior Lecturer

    Graduate School of Education


    Inter-American Educational Leadership Network

    ( )

    •          Emerging network of educational leaders across the hemisphere; an umbrella for variety of individual projects, including visits, PD, web events

    •          Peer-to-peer networking among school leaders

    •          Professional development activities

    Collaboration with Organization of American States

    •          Series of webinars, outreach regarding educational leadership in the Americas

    •          Board role in ITEN (Inter-American Teacher Education Network)

    Collaboration with Catholic University of Chile

                Well-established working relationship with the Ed School, and with senior university leadership, regarding:

    •          Annual International Conference on Educational Leadership (January)

    •          Joint Certificate Program in Educational Leadership (blended)

    •          Research collaboration

    Senior leadership is very interested in expanding ed school collaborations beyond educational leadership per se, and indeed, across other schools at both universities.

    Dr. Sharon Ravitch’s work in Nicaragua:

    Semillas Digitales (Digital Seeds in English) is a collaboration between the Seeds for Progress Foundation, the Mercon Coffee Group, CISA Agro and the Ministry of Education in Nicaragua, and the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (PennGSE) in the United States. Semillas Digitales is a school and community-based action research program that cultivates a holistic, sustainable, stakeholder-driven, capacity-building model of educational innovation focused on pedagogical and curricular enrichment, intensive inquiry-based professional development, technology integration, digital literacy and community partnership, all guided by an intentional focus on active collaboration and mutual capacity building and respect. Central to Semillas Digitales is the long-term, active support of educational stakeholders (administrators, teachers, students and parents) to facilitate the identification and construction of meaningful educational opportunities through expanded and supportive learning environments and pedagogical innovations that integrate Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) as pedagogical tools that support, reflect and drive broad innovation and improve the overall quality of education. Dr. Ravitch is Principal Investigator and runs the project along with Matthew Tarditi, an advanced doctoral student at PennGSE.

    Future/emerging collaborations

    Education and Civic Engagement

    A conference w/ resulting publications, with pledged support from Inter-American Development Bank, addressing the public purposes of education across the Americas.  Cross-school collaboration within Penn, cross-university/agency collaboration across the hemisphere; steering committee established, but looking for admin supports

    Web-based Simulations

    Educational leadership simulations development work between Penn and Catholic University of Chile (building off of PELS project, an outgrowth of the Mid-Career Doctoral Program)

    Areas of interest for cross-school collaborations

    Service learning experiences in the hemisphere across educational, health, and social service sectors, and across undergrad/grad levels

    Place-based collaborations across disciplines, continued over multiple years, both for professional preparation/ongoing development and youth development research that includes educational outcomes; choose a city/community where varied Penn schools might overlap in their work, coordinated research and service agenda in partnership with local universities, agencies, foundations; via a Penn center in Chile with Catholic U?

    Professional graduate student exchange opportunities

    Collaborative, cross-sector peer-to-peer professional network development for those involved in and interested in education in Latin America, across the hemisphere (building off current work via Mid-Career collaboration with Cath U); connect to Penn alumni in region, who seem to have strong interest in education as an area of interest and local commitment

  • Cristina Bicchieri, PhD | Social Norms & Education | Guatemala
  • Professor of Philosophy & Psychology

    Chair of Philosophy, Politics, & Economics Program

    Projects where currently involved

    Guatemala: Cristina Bicchieri conducts training on social norms and education in Guatemala.  Now in touch with government for larger consulting work.  Bicchieri is the founder of the Penn social norms training and consulting group. We work closely with UNICEF and several NGO's in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

    Expanding to education faculty, in near future. 

  • Mamie Guidera, CNM, MSN | Maternal/Infant Health + Midwifery Training | Guatemala, Haiti+
  • Advanced Senior Lecturer

    Penn Nursing

    Project: Maternal and Infant Health in the Americas (N545)

                      A clinical elective course, Service Learning Course for Undergraduate and Graduate Nursing students. Consists of 6 three hour seminars on campus followed by 2 weeks in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala to provide:

    ·       Direct clinical care, in the local Centro de Salud, Hospitalito, and community health clinics  and home-visiting agencies

    ·       Education/seminars for two different Midwifery training programs, and Estrella de Mar, an afterschool program designed to empower local girls and adolescents

    ·       Continuing education for nurses working at the Hospitalito and Centro de Salud

    Community Partners: Multiple! See above

    Future plans: This course is an eye-opening experience for students, often leading to continued work and interest in global health. More courses are needed in the School of Nursing to satisfy student interest in global health and requirement for a minor in global health.

    • Currently working with CHOP to replicate this course on site in the Dominican Republic
    • Would like to develop distance learning (skype, teleconferencing, etc.) to continue education year-round
    • Desire partnership with Penn Faculty working with Guatemalan Universities that provide formal Nursing Education, to create pathways to assist women from the community to receive formal education (Nursing, Midwifery, Health Education)
    • Funding Sources

    Project 2: Midwives for Haiti (MFH), Midwifery Training Program, Hinche,

    MFH was established after the Haiti Earthquake in response to the destruction of the country’s Midwifery Program in Port au Prince. It is an 11 month training program, endorsed by the Ministry of Health. In partnership with MFH, Midwifery faculty at the University of Penn School of Nursing has been involved in:

    • Direct clinical service, working with patients, students, faculty and staff at Hospital St Therese and multiple out-lying clinics,
    • “Training the Trainers”, providing educational consultation for the faculty at MFH on teaching methods, simulation, and evaluation.
    • Teaching classes and precepting  MFH students aitiHaiti
    • Researching teaching methodologies, and evaluation techniques – Provost Grant in 2012-2013

    Partners/Collaborators: the Director, faculty and graduates of MFH

    Future Plans

    ·       Continued research to investigate the effect of teaching the use of Simulation on Midwifery Confidence and Maternal Infant outcomes

    ·       Provision of continued Penn faculty presence in Hinche to educate and train

    ·       Faculty exchange program – MFH Faculty work with Penn Faculty at Penn, and vice versa

    ·       Expansion to a relationship with the University in Haiti – to assist with the development of formal Midwifery Education

    ·       What other programs/schools at Penn are engaged in Haiti?