Instituto de Medicina Tropical Alexander von Humboldt Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima 

Link to the website:


History of IMTAvH

The Instituto de Medicina Tropical Alexander von Humboldt was founded on March 25, 1968, with Dr. Hugo Lumbreras as its founder and first Director. Dr. Lumbreras was a distinguished physician and parasitologist, who contributed significantly to the development of several related disciplines in Perú. He was also the first specialist in Tropical Medicine to be hired as such by a Peruvian hospital, which was the Hospital Docente del Rímac ("Rímac Teaching Hospital"), now Hospital Nacional Cayetano Heredia. Professor Lumbreras, who received training in Germany under an Alexander von Humboldt research fellowship, gave the Institute the name of the well-known German explorer and Naturalist, with the additional intention to foster scientific exchange with Germany and other European countries. Initially the Institute consisted of only a few professionals in the clinical and laboratory diagnosis areas. Since 1977, as an organ of the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, it occupied, by an Agreement with the Ministry of Health, the building of the new Unidad Clínica de Enfermedades Infecciosas y Tropicales (now Department of Transmissible and Dermatologic Diseases) at the Hospital Cayetano Heredia. This Department now has 5 outpatient clinical rooms, 36 hospitalization beds, 9 laboratories, a specialized Library and teaching facilities. The greater clinical and research responsibilities beginning in 1977 demanded more significant support. Thanks to the activities in research, teaching and service, the initial group of professionals grew, with more physicians, microbiologists, biochemists, epidemiologists and other researcher specialists. There were early contributions from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, from the British Council, from some pharmaceutical companies, and later through research projects, notably from the UNDP, World Bank and WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR). Very often research was performed in collaboration with other scientific groups, with support from different national and international agencies. At present, the Instituto has earned national and international prestige, and many of its members serve in working groups in different service and scientific organizations.


The goal of the Instituto is to contribute with its efforts to the solution of national health problems, especially in the area of infectious diseases. Fully conscious that individual therapy will not be enough to deal successfully with such diseases, the members of the Instituto have promoted scientific research in many disciplines linked to prevention and control, including different areas, such as clinical aspects, diagnosis, epidemiology, socio-anthropological observations, ecological issues, and methods for primary health care with community participation. All this research is closely linked with the direct application of the findings to health care strategies. This has been the case, for example, with the use in the field of molecular diagnosis techniques for leishmaniasis (polymerase chain reaction, PCR), since 1989.


During this period the teaching and training effort is specially intense, and besides the undergraduate course on Infectious and Tropical Diseases, which consistently receives the best evaluations and is considered the best undergraduate medical course at our University, the Instituto is responsible for the Residency in Infectious and Tropical Diseases, the Extracurricular course for national and foreign students, several courses per year addressed to health professionals, and longer training periods in clinical research, in the laboratories, in field epidemiology, et . More recently, the Maestría en Enfermedades Infecciosas y Tropicales (International Master's Course in Infectious and Tropical Diseases) is offered, and, in collaboration with the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) the International Gorgas Course in Clinical Tropical Medicine, wholly in English, has been organized with a multi-institutional teaching faculty.

For general information