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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Lectures probe problems seen in healthcare overseas

Photo By: Alli Bradshaw
Jorge Vanegas presented the opening lecture Friday on healthcare architecture in Latin America for the 2015  Architecture for Health Lecture Series.
Photo By: Alli Bradshaw Jorge Vanegas presented the opening lecture Friday on healthcare architecture in Latin America for the 2015  Architecture for Health Lecture Series.

If College Station had the same number of medical doctors as Colombia, there would be just over one for every 10,000 residents — a fact that Jorge Vanegas, dean of Texas A&M’s College of Architecture, used to highlight the different challenges architects need to solve in designing healthcare facilities throughout Latin America.
Vanegas’ lecture Friday kicked off the Architecture For Health lecture series, which will explore health environments and facility design in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Spring 2015 lecture series will range from new hospital proposals in Honduras to case studies in Mexico and Brazil.
Vanegas, who is a registered architect in Colombia, discussed the multiple dimensions of healthcare in Colombia and how it differs from the United States. He highlighted several statistics, such as the disparity between the number of doctors in Colombia versus the United States, to discuss the challenges that must be addressed through healthcare design.
“Healthcare is a problem around the world for everyone,” Vanegas said. “But the health environments and designing of these facilities in the context of Latin America and the Caribbean is very different in how you would approach those two topics in the U.S.”
Vanegas’ talk reviewed the social, political and technological dimensions of healthcare in Colombia, while bringing College Station into the mix.
“You have to take all those factors into account, and healthcare must respond to those dimensions,” Vanegas said. “Through a proportional perspective, if there were as many doctors in College Station as there are in Colombia — there would be 1.5 doctors for every 10,000 people. It’s very different.”
Naomi Sachs, architecture doctoral student candidate, said she enjoyed hearing from architects with hands-on experience in the field.
“It’s always an opportunity to learn something, meet interesting people and design practitioners,” Sachs said. “You learn so much more from people with outside experience and people who are willing to share that experience, such as dean Vanegas.”
Vanegas said he used his lecture as a way of educating students beyond the boundaries of the United States and enabling the betterment of individuals not only in the architecture and design field.
“Healthcare is not isolated, it’s all interconnected,” Vanegas said. “One of the messages is how students need to transcend the boundaries of their academic program and profession, and see how they as future professionals can make a difference and contribute to the betterment of the human race.”
Lucy Bai, architecture doctoral student candidate and president of the Student Health Environment Association, said the lecture was an eye-opener.
“It kind of kicked me out of this ivory tower,” Bai said. “I feel like I’m more professional when I can see and learn about design trends in all aspects.”
The Spring 2015 Architecture for Health Lecture Series will be held at 11:30 a.m. most Fridays in Langford 105C until early May.

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