Former President of Ecuador Visits STLCOP, Discusses Potential Partnership

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Former President and Health Minister of Ecuador Alfredo Palacio visited St. Louis College of Pharmacy on Tuesday, Sept. 24, to talk about ways the College can make an impact in South America. Palacio served as president of Ecuador from 2005 to 2007. He is a practicing cardiologist who says he never aimed to enter politics.

“I realized that talking about health is talking about politics,” Palacio says. “We need health professionals talking about health. Health care is too serious a thing to be given to the politicians.”

Palacio is in St. Louis as part of Global Health Week, an event the College is co-sponsoring with Washington University School of Medicine. He met with College President John A. Pieper, Pharm.D.; Kim Kilgore, Ph.D., dean; Ken Schafermeyer, Ph.D., professor and director of international programs; several other faculty members; and students. The group discussed how to further education for physicians at a university and new hospital near Guayaquil, which is Ecuador’s largest city.

“We have very good doctors, some who have trained in America,” Palacio says. “However, being a very good doctor doesn’t mean you can practice academic medicine. We need people who know how to practice academic medicine.”

While in St. Louis, Palacio is proposing an exchange of both students and professors.

“We may work, in a very simple way, on producing new knowledge and integrating the practice of medicine between our countries,” Palacio says.

“I think there are real opportunities for partnering,” Pieper adds. “We’re looking at expanding our relationships around the globe to not only benefit our students, but to also bring faculty and practitioners from around the world here to experience high level clinical pharmacy practices.”

During Global Health Week, the College will be showcasing its international initiatives at a multi-day exhibition next to Jones Hall. Students also have several volunteer opportunities and the chance to hear internationally recognized speakers talk about the current state of health care around the world during the week.

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