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Peru: San Marcos Medical College

General medicine inpatient ward at Dos de Mayo, which is affiliated with San Marcos and Cayetano University. Photo taken by: Nathan Bertelsen

The National University of San Marcos (Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, UNMSM) is a public university in Lima, Perú. It was chartered on May 12, 1551 by a Royal Decree signed by Charles I of Spain as the Royal and Pontifical University of the City of the Kings of Lima, which makes it the oldest officially established university in the Americas, and as such, one of the oldest universities in the world.

Two Peruvian boys. Photo taken by: Madelon Finkel, PhD

Due to its prestigious faculty and renowned alumni, the quality of its curricular contents, and its very competitive admission process, San Marcos is considered by many as the most important and respected institution of higher education in the country, as well as a leading center of scientific research.

The university has 56 academic-professional schools, organized into 20 faculties, and these, in turn, into 6 academic areas. All the faculties offer unergraduate and graduate degrees. The student body consists of over 30,000 undergraduate and 4,000 graduate students from all the country as well as some international students.

In 2008, The Office of Global Health Education and the UNMSM formally established a student exchange program permitting up to 2 medial students from each institution to take a clinical elective at the host medical college. WCMC are placed in a clinical elective of choice at one of the teaching hospitals in Lima, Peru. Students may spend a week or two at clinics outside Lima in the Andean Highlands. The urban/rural focus enables our students to appreciate how health care is delivered in Perú. This cross-cultural experience is the hallmark of this program.

Neighborhood in Lima, Peru. Photo takenby: Nate Bertelsen

In addition to the student exchange program, research opportunites with faculty at each insitution are being developed. Dr Madelon Finkel, Professor of Clinical Public Health and Director of the Office of Global Health Education at WCMC, and researchers at UNMSM are focusing on women's health issues, including the epidemiology of maternal mortality, maternal hypertension, and malnutrition.

Weill Cornell Medicine Center for Global Health 402 East 67th Street, 2nd Floor New York, NY 10065 Phone: (646) 962-8140 Fax: (646) 962-0285