UC San Diego chancellor visits Tijuana to learn about industry, health care and education.
From touring the production floor of one of Mexico’s best places to work to witnessing a student-run free health clinic in action, UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla’s visit to Tijuana, Mexico, Friday offered him an introduction to the bustling metropolis just across the border from San Diego. The one-day tour included visits to Hospital Angeles Tijuana, the Health Frontiers in Tijuana Clinic, the Business Innovation and Technology Center, El Florido Parque Industrial, and the Culinary Art School.
“I’m pleased to have the opportunity to meet with our community partners in Tijuana and learn more about this region and cross-border issues,” said Khosla. “My goal is to strengthen the existing partnerships between UC San Diego and our neighboring country, and pursue other opportunities for collaboration. Our teamwork is vital for the economic and social growth and prosperity of our regions, and we look forward to the ongoing exchange of ideas.”
Accompanying Khosla in Tijuana were Mary Walshok, associate vice chancellor for Public Programs at UC San Diego; Juan Lasheras, interim dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering; Alberto Díaz-Cayeros, director of the university’s Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies; and James Clark, director general of the Mexico Business Center at the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, who helped arrange the trip.
The day began with a visit to Hospital Angeles Tijuana, Mexico’s largest private hospital network and a top-tier facility for medical care. In a series of brief presentations, Khosla was introduced to the hospital’s breadth of services, novel technology and leading-edge research. Representatives from UC San Diego and Hospital Tijuana discussed where there may be opportunities for future collaboration, from research and clinical trials to training students.
Next on the tour was a visit to a different side of healthcare in Tijuana: a student-run free clinic in one of the city’s poorest districts. About a dozen patients, many homeless, gathered in the alley in front of the Health Frontiers in Tijuana (HFiT) Clinic, waiting to be seen.
The HFiT Clinic is a collaborative project of UC San Diego and the Universidad Autónomo de Baja California. Students from both sides of the border are mentored by faculty at the clinic to provide free care for underserved populations in Tijuana. Faculty and students also collaborate on a number of research projects focusing on HIV and STD prevention, substance abuse, policing practices and sex trafficking.
“There is an intense need for health services here,” said Steffanie Strathdee, associate dean of global health sciences at UC San Diego, as she gave an overview of the project. “We align research, training and service. And we, the professors, learn as much from the students as they learn from us.”
Before leaving the site, Khosla thanked the graduating medical students for their work. “What you’re doing here is truly amazing,” he said. “I had heard about some of this work, but it is not the same as being here today and seeing the impact.”