June 29, 2005

Contact: Angela Heisel, 272-3651; Benson Hendrix, 272-3690

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The dean and faculty from the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy were hosted by the director and faculty of the Facultad de Farmacia at the Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Morales (UAEM) in Cuernavaca, Mexico in late April for an academic and research meeting between the two universities and to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to strengthen ties between UNM and UAEM.

This meeting added to the quickly growing relationship between the two universities. From their first contact between faculty from both schools at the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy annual meeting in San Diego in 2000 until the recent visit to Cuernavaca by John A. Pieper, Pharm.D., dean of the UNM College of Pharmacy; Matthew Borrego, Ph.D.; and Scott Burchiel, Ph.D., associate dean for research, the schools have been collaborating on a memorandum of understanding.

The group arrived in Mexico City on Saturday, April 23 and were met by Jorge Reyes Esparza, Ph.D. From Mexico City International, the group was driven to the city of Cuernavaca for the three day meeting. The faculty of UAEM and graduate students were in attendance to listen to speakers from both schools. While Sunday was spent talking about overviews of the professional and graduate programs at both universities, on Monday the majority of the meeting was spent with presentations of research, from immunology to pharmacy practice.

The meeting focused on strategies for collaboration in research and academic programs and increasing the ties between the schools. The group from UNM also had time to take in cultural sites, such as Cortez's Castle, in their time out from the meeting. It gave the group a chance to experience the differences in the cultures of the U.S. and Mexico .

"It's hard to believe how different it was," Pieper said of his time in Mexico . "And how wonderful it was also."

On Tuesday, April 26, Dean Pieper and UAEM's dean of the Facultad de Farmacia, Alejandro Nieto, Ph.D., signed the memorandum of understanding. After signing, the "Wine of Honor" ceremony was conducted. People brought cakes and bottles of wine to the signing and at this time they toasted the signing of the MOU.

Dean Pieper is hopeful there will be stronger ties in the years to come between the two universities. This is already starting to show in the actions of UNM since their return. UNM is assisting in establishing a pharmacy library (almost 1,500 pounds of books have been donated and are preparing to be sent to UAEM), securing access to electronic journals for the faculty at UAEM, working towards student and faculty exchanges between the schools and collaboration on research, educational programs and program development.