Latin America has come a long way in terms of poverty reduction. The number of people estimated to be living on less than $2 per day has declined dramatically and levels of inequality have also improved. But statistics such as these are in stark contrast to the daily reality of many living in the region.
Roughly 30% of the population of Latin America still lives in poverty and according to a 2011 report by The Latin American Center for Rural Development (Rimisp), “Latin America is the most inequitable region in the world”.
Faculty and students at UCLA want that to change.
Richard C. Blum, a member of the board of regents at the University of California at Los Angeles, generously donated $1 million to fund the creation and development of The Blum Center on Poverty and Health in Latin America at UCLA.
“The newly established Blum Center will focus on reducing poverty in Latin America and improving health outcomes by increasing interdisciplinary dialogue through research, policy development and education”, said Dr. Michael Rodriguez, director of the Blum Center and professor of family medicine at UCLA.
A symposium was recently held at UCLA to mark the beginning of the project to fight poverty in Latin America.
Blum was unable to attend the symposium but said in a statement that he, “hopes the center will help inspire students to become global citizens and assist them in understanding that the effort to reduce poverty around he world is a complicated, but worthwhile endeavor”.
He added, “the center will also conduct research to get further insight on how poverty and related social factors cause and contribute to health inequalities experienced by Latin Americans abroad and in Los Angeles”.
The faculty and students at UCLA are on a mission to improve the lives of Latin Americans and we can’t wait to see what they come up with.
– Erin Ponsonby
Sources: Hispanically Speaking News, Daily Bruins, IFAD
Photo: UCLA Health