New partnership brings Extension’s clinical trials expertise to Mexican students

Investment in clinical research in Mexico is predicted to triple in upcoming years, with a potential to reach $500 million USD, according to the Mexican Association of Pharmaceutical Research Industries. To prepare professionals for the rigors of global scientific studies and the growth in this industry, UC San Diego Extension is partnering anew with a private university in central Mexico, Universidad de las Américas Puebla (UDLAP).

The new partnership will enable UDLAP students to pursue UC San Diego Extension’s Clinical Trials in Latin America Certificate, taught by experts from San Diego, a worldwide hub for the pharmaceutical and biotech industry. The certificate is designed to expose principal investigators, nurses, study coordinators, and others to the guidelines and protocols that promote safe, successful clinical research, as dictated by international regulatory bodies.

UC San Diego Extension has engaged in clinical trials education for nearly 20 years and has offered Spanish courses for the last six years. “More and more, companies are pursuing clinical research in Latin America, both to control costs and to recruit more diverse patient populations. We are excited to expand the professional education available in Mexico and to contribute to the rising standard of clinical research being conducted globally,” said program director Dr. Leonel Villa-Caballero, MD, PhD.

“A good foundation in clinical trials management will enable practitioners to optimally incorporate scientific advances and state-of-the-art health technologies,” said Dr. Lucila

Castro-Pastrana, a professor at UDLAP. Castro-Pastrana says the market for clinical studies is extremely competitive in Latin America and that the training is critical. The partnership also comes at a time when UDLAP is improving its research realm and adding a PhD program in molecular biomedicine among other strategic initiatives.

The program will offer UDLAP students clinical trials courses online and in Spanish – at an affordable rate and via a Mexican invoice, which many employers require for tuition reimbursement. Candidates can also obtain grants and make payment plan arrangements through UDLAP. Students graduate with a diploma from UDLAP and with a Clinical Trials Administration certificate from UC San Diego, offering them the prestige of both organizations.

Both Drs. Villa-Caballero and Castro-Pastrana hope the forging of the partnership is just the first step in the relationship. “We look forward to UDLAP students joining us in San Diego for our intensive workshop in May 2017, for example, where even more advanced instruction is offered and networking is facilitated,” said Villa-Caballero. “We hope eventually to have our instructors teach courses alongside UC San Diego’s,” said Castro-Pastrana, citing a “new bridge” between scholars and students across the Americas.

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