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International Cooperation

At the end of April, the State University of New York at Buffalo, USA, hosted a delegation from Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU), represented by RSU Rector Prof. Aigars Pētersons, Vice-Rector for Science Agrita Kiopa, Vice-Rector for Health Studies Prof. Guntis Bahs, Vice-Rector for Administration and Development Toms Baumanis, and Assoc. Prof. Andris Ābeltiņš, Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry. During the visit, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed to strengthen the cooperation in medicine and dentistry that began several years ago. The MoU will open new opportunities for students, teaching staff, and researchers from both universities.

The MoU foresees extensive cooperation between both universities in the field of dentistry. Cooperation could also include collaboration between lecturers and researchers, guest lectures and short-term visits by faculty members, exchanges undertaken by residents and doctoral students, and researcher participation in conferences and symposia. At the same time, it foresees the exchange of information, academic materials, and publications in areas of mutual interest to both universities. On behalf of the University at Buffalo, the MoU was signed by its President, Dr. Satish Tripathi and the Dean of the School of Dentistry, Prof. Stefan Ruhl, and on behalf of RSU – by Rector, Prof. Pētersons, and the Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry, Assoc. Prof. Ābeltiņš.

During their visit, the RSU delegation got to see both the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, one of the oldest medical schools in the USA, and the School of Dental Medicine, which is ranked ninth in the prestigious Academic Ranking of World Universities. The delegation also visited the School of Public Health and Health Professions that has around 1,800 young professionals studying nutrition, public health, bioinformatics, biostatistics, epidemiology, and other areas. Research at the school is at a very high level with an annual investment of 10 million dollars and it specialises in such areas as addiction, ageing and chronic diseases, environmental health, biostatistics, cancer risk prevention, cardiovascular disease, nutrition and physical activity, data science, computer science, and more.

During the visits to all three educational institutions, both parties discussed joint projects already underway to develop new degree programmes and joint research programmes and looked at new opportunities for collaboration, such as joint online study courses or international public health initiatives in the field of public health. The two universities have previously collaborated on biomaterials research, planned a new residency specialisation in oral pathology, developing a medical student monitoring system, and other projects. Dentistry has had a special place in the work so far, but the cooperation between the two universities has its origin in a project aimed to strengthen the digital skills of the teaching staff, funded by EU structural funds and coordinated by the Riga Technical University Riga Business School as a national project for the development of lecturers. The ICT skills-building project is still ongoing, and every semester groups of lecturers from Latvia travel to the University at Buffalo, one of the best technology universities in the USA.