Who are we?
- IHCAI Foundation
is a non-profit organization working for global medical education, the development of
health research and for the improvement of health in the communities of Central
America and the Caribbean. It aims to provide a continuous and permanent medical education for
health care providers and promotes access to health information for health care
consumers. IHCAI is devoted to enhance research skills in health care, and is
oriented towards the knowledge based solutions health problem.
- IHCAI Foundation was
originally created to foster international health opportunities for the exchange
of knowledge and for transcultural experiences as a part of the medical
education curriculum. Currently, IHCAI Foundation is growing exponentially and
the original objectives have been extended to different fields in medical,
epidemiological, as well as health research and education. However, IHCAI
Foundation remains committed to the original goal to include senior medical and
health students, as well as young professionals in all its programs.
- IHCAI Foundation is very
devoted to contribute to reduce the discrimination of minorities in Central
America concerning health care access and to reduce the gap between health
research in the north and in the south. Also promotes the collaboration of
research projects based in the North and the South, as well as to facilitate
access to high quality training and modern equipment.
- IHCAI Foundation offers
clinical clerkships and medical Spanish training programs for residents, medical
students, and other health professionals from abroad. The educational program is
primary care based and covers mother and child, adolescents, adults and elderly
health. The technique of the problem based learning model (PBL/PBI) has been in
use since 2000. There are opportunities for students and visiting fellows to
actively participate in the problem solving process in the area. Our system
places a great emphasis on self-directed learning and uses as system of tutors
to assist the student in finding the necessary information to solve clinical and
public health problems.
- In a world of constant changes IHCAI Foundation
imposes the challenge of using new information and communication tools to
facilitate the knoledge translation and exchange through the use and promotion of global
IHCAI Board of Directors
- Chairperson and
Director - General
- IHCAI Foundation Board of Directors has nine
members. Five founders permanent members and four non-permanent are elected
every four years.
In Memoriam of Emeritus and Honorary
Hugo Behm Rosas MD
THE IHCAI BI-ANNUAL AWARD was named after Dr. Rosas FOR HIS CONTRIBUTION TO
THE REDUCTION OF INFANT MORTALITY IN LATIN AMERICA.
- Dr. Rosas was a Chilean public health specialist
who sought refuge in Costa Rica from the persecution suffered by many under
the military dictatorship in Chile in 1973. He worked with various
international organizations including the United Nations, the World Health
Organization, and Pan American Health Organization. In his strategic
participation in the publication "Child mortality in developing countries"
of the United Nations (1991), he developed the chapter on analytical
framework. In 1992 CELADE (the Population Division of ECLAC), he published "The
social inequalities facing death in Latin America" with the collaboration of
Government of the Netherlands (Netherlands Organisation for International
Cooperation in Higher Education, NUFFIC). His invaluable and untiring
contribution as a pioneer in scientific analysis and explanation helped
delineate important demographic and health events in the determinants of
deep inequalities, especially in terms of infant mortality.
San José de Costa Rica. 2011.
Dr. Hugo Behm Rosas (1913-2011)
Merton Bernfield MD
Merton Bernfield, MD, was a
leading cell biologist whose research lead to the discovery of syndecans –
molecules that control or influence tissue repair, energy metabolism,
tumorigenesis, and immune response development. He also was the Clement A. Smith
Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard in Boston, and before that he spent 22 years
as a professor for Human Biology and Pediatrics at Stanford University in
California. He was director of the Joint Program in Neonatology, the unit
responsible for the care, education, and research of newborns at Children's,
Brigham and Women's, and Beth Israel Deaconess until its dissolution in 1998.
His many honors included
Guggenheim and Macy fellowships and distinguished lectureships like the Swedish
Zetterstrom Lecture and the Wellcome Visiting Professorship in the Basic Medical
Sciences. Bernfield was a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National
Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of
Science and a member of the American Association of Physicians.
Merton Bernfield died on
March 18th 2002 of complications from Parkinson’s disease and he is survived by
his wife Audrey, who is the director of the Office of Enrichment Programs at
Harvard Medical School, and by their three children.
We at the IHCAI Foundation
are deeply sorry for the loss of one of our dear friend and for the loss of a
prominent scientist. Merton Bernfield MD and his wife Audrey have been our
allies, partners, and friends in our aspiration to provide better opportunities
for a education and enhanced research skills to young professionals in Costa
Rica and Central America. They supported us and gave us positive feedback on our
proposals, and we had a strong agreement to put an affirmative action for our
countries into place. Our efforts have been oriented towards improving sciences
and to open the doors to health and medical education. A great accomplishment of
our work was shown when the IHMEC conference was held in San Jose, Costa Rica,
in 1998 and its opening statement was ‘Open the doors for health and medical
We shared many wonderful
times together, talking about sciences and development of the sciences in the
Third World. We talked about ideas and projects that we would like to work on in
the future, some of them will never be possible to realize, however they will be
in our memories forever. These dreams will keep inspiring our work and the
mission of the IHCAI Foundation.
Merton leaves us too soon.
He was a young man who suddenly felt ill. We met for the last time in November
last year at his house in Boston. It was a sad to see such a brilliant man
suffering from the effects of the disease. However, he was just as happy as I
was to meet again, and unfortunately it was to be our last time together. As it
happens very often at that moment I wanted very much to find a healing power for
my friend. Merton Bernfield enjoyed Costa Rica and we had the privilege to have
him and his wonderful family visit us.
I want to express my
personal sympathy to Audrey, her family, colleagues, and friends at Harvard
Medical School and in the International community who had the chance to get to
know Dr. Bernfield and to share his knowledge and wisdom. This message also
includes the sympathy of the entire IHCAI Foundation staff and directors and all
of Merton’s and Audrey’s friends in Costa Rica and in all our offices in Central
To honor the memory of
Merton Bernfield the IHCAI Foundation has established the Annual Merton
Bernfield MD. Lecture. It is to be held in San José, Costa Rica for the first
time on May 15th, 2003 and will continue to be held every year on the second
Thursday in May.
The board of directors of
the IHCAI Foundation will select the first lecturer from the international
scientific community one year ahead of time. It has created the Merton Bernfield
MD Lecture Fund to cover the expenses, to provide the necessary resources to
carry out the lecture, and to assure its continuity. The topic of the lecture
will be on an issue of health related to the development of the basic medical
I would like to express
again my deepest regrets and sympathy to Audrey and her family.
San José de Costa Rica.
Merton Bernfield MD (1939-2002)
International Health Central
IHCAI Foundation has its
San José, Costa Rica, Central America.
IHCAI Foundation is an equal
opportunity organization and do not make
any preference by gender, race,
sexual orientation or political opinions
and rejects those openly racist,
Nazi or Neo Nazi oriented.
IHCAI - Main Office
P.O. Box 1677-2100, San José,
Barrio Escalante, San Jose, 7th Avenue, 35 and 37 Street, #3530
Tel: (506) 2234 6354 or (506) 2234 6347
// Fax: (506) 2226 3047