Project Yucatan was established in Spring 2003 as a student exchange program between Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán (UADY) and the University of Florida. Each spring, a team of medical students, pharmacy students, and physicians from the University of Florida travels to Mérida, Mexico to provide primary healthcare to the disadvantaged citizens of predominately Mayan villages throughout the Yucatan peninsula.
About Our Trip
Project Yucatan was established in Spring 2003 as a student exchange program between Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán (UADY) and the University of Florida. Each spring, a team of medical students, pharmacy students, and physicians from the University of Florida travels to Mérida, Mexico to provide primary healthcare to the disadvantaged citizens of predominately Mayan villages throughout the Yucatan peninsula. Our efforts provide much-needed medical care to these communities, as many of the individuals seen in our clinics have little to no access to healthcare. Though we are only in country for a week, our relationship with the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán and the local physicians ensures that we have year-long benefits in every community that we visit. We provide potentially life-saving screening services to identify patients that need consistent, and sometimes emergent, follow-up. We help plug these identified individuals into the local healthcare system to help patients toward long-term improvement in quality of life.
Our mission would not be possible without the help of the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán (UADY). Their relationship with the local outreach program “Hoy, En Tu Communidad” helps us target the Yucatan communities in the most need. This project provides UF and UADY students with experience in rural medicine and is unique because of the long-lasting relationships formed between medical students of both institutions. Together, we provide medications as needed and vitamins to each patient that we see, free of charge. Other areas of our outreach include screening for cervical cancer, reducing maternal mortality, adolescent pregnancy, STDs, and pediatric malnutrition.
This trip allows students to improve their clinical skills and acquire a more holistic perspective of different approaches to medical education and healthcare, while also giving back to the global community. During the summer, students at the University of Florida College of Medicine host UADY students and help coordinate a weeklong internship for UADY students at Shands Hospital. This unique opportunity enables students of both universities to continue to learn from each other and to work together toward improving global health equity.
Yucatan at a Glance
Yucatán, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Yucatán, is one of the 31 states. Mérida is the capital and largest city in Yucatan state in Mexico, as well as the largest city of the Yucatán Peninsula.
Mérida has many regional hospitals and medical centers. All of them offer full services for the city and in case of the Regional Hospitals for the whole Yucatán peninsula and neighboring states.
The city has one of the most prestigious medical faculties in Mexico (UADY). Proximity to American cities like Houston allow local Doctors to crosstrain and practice in both countries making Mérida one of the best cities in Mexico in terms of health services availability.
We are excited to continue our efforts in bringing health services to the less fortunate of the Yucatan Peninsula while providing a dynamic education to future health care leaders. As the program continues to grow, so does our need for community support. We ask for your partnership to enable the success of our program.
The University of Florida is lucky to have such an amazing partner in global health in Yucatan, Mexico with the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán (UADY). For years this partnership has allowed students to experience different cultures, create lasting friendships, and learn about health care in a different part of the world.
Project Yucatan would like to specifically thank the past and current trip members for hosting the students in their homes and showing them the best of Gainesville, as well as the physicians and staff that helped to make this exchange possible. The goals of furthering the partnership between UADY and UF will continue with the 2021 spring break trip to Merida and future summer exchange program between the two medical schools.