Peruvian Doctors Visit DeSales, Experience American Healthcare System

by Janelle Hill | Jun 23, 2017


Maria Luisa Tello and Leonardo Vela have just wrapped up a whirlwind week in America. The Peruvian doctors played the role of tourists in Philadelphia and New York City. They also played the role of students at DeSales University.

Tello and Vela were among 25 Peruvian doctors to visit DeSales for a weeklong study tour. “We are learning these new techniques and processes and good practice,” says Tello, who works in Peru’s pharmaceutical industry. “We are investing in ourselves but also to make our country better.”

The doctors work in varying disciplines and are pursuing their Masters in Business Administration at the Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (UPC) in Lima, Peru. During the tour, they heard lectures on various topics ranging from insurance and patient safety to big data management. They also toured local hospitals and visited hot spots like Fegley’s Bethlehem BrewWorks and the Philadelphia Premium Outlets.

“The reason they come here is to see the good, the bad, and the ugly,” says Dr. David Gilfoil, professor and director of the MBA program. “They're looking for nuggets of information that they can bring home. If they can automate something or bring some tool that could dramatically improve their little corner of the Peruvian world.”  

Vela’s goal is to make things more efficient in his country, so the topic of data management stuck out the most. “At my institution, we have a problem with our information systems,” he says. “I have received some good ideas.”

A highlight for Tello was visiting OAA Orthopaedic Specialists in Allentown.

“In Peru, we don't have that kind of specialization yet but, of course, we have the need. I think there are many, many things that I would like to take and to try to make as well in Peru.”

The United States isn’t the only stop on Tello and Vela’s agenda. They traveled to Colombia back in March for a similar health-care rotation, and they plan on visiting Spain in September for another learning opportunity. 

DeSales University and UPC have collaborated since 2009. Gilfoil describes it as a four-pronged relationship. While executive MBA and healthcare students come here, DeSales also sends its faculty and MBA students to Peru. Going forward, Gilfoil would like to expand on that relationship with possibilities such as a dual degree or medical tourism. “I want to continue that success,” he says. “Everybody wins with these kind of partnerships.”

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