Dr. Miguel Perez accepting honor at the UCE graduation ceremony June 27, 2015.

Dr. Miguel Perez, professor of health promotion in the Department of Public Health at Fresno State, was recognized as an honorary professor at Universidad Central del Este (Central University of the East, UCE) in the Dominican Republic as part of UCE’s Global Health Week.

From June 20-30, Perez led a service-learning course that took 15 Fresno State students to medical facilities and Haitian immigrant camps, where some of the most destitute individuals reside. With financial support from the Friends for Civic Engagement project at Fresno State, students in Perez’s course were able to deliver food to 30 families and provide a series of health education activities.

Perez (l) receiving his honor from UCE officials.

The title of honorary professor is given in recognition of academic creativity and productivity based on teaching, research and spirit of service that has contributed to improving quality of life.

“I am humbled by this undeserved honor which recognizes joint efforts to improve the health status of marginalized individuals in the Dominican Republic,” Perez said. “The celebration of Global Health Week allows for academic and cultural exchanges between public health students at Fresno State and medical and public health students from the UCE.

This is the first year we brought Fresno State students to the Dominican Republic, and we hope to soon welcome a number of UCE students to Fresno State.”

This latest visit marks the third time that Perez has taught at the UCE. In addition to teaching courses in health promotion, Perez has also worked with researchers to investigate the risk behaviors among first-year students. Their work was featured in the Global Journal of Health Education and Promotion.

Perez also conducted research on migrant health issues and adolescent health risk behaviors in Colombia, El Salvador and Mexico as well as developing health promotion programs in Thailand and South Africa. Perez, who has authored numerous publications in health promotion, joined the faculty of Fresno State in 1999.

Fresno State Public Health students gearing up for their service learning project in the Dominican Republic.
Fresno State Public Health students gearing up for their service learning project in the Dominican Republic.

We’ll bring you much more from this trip in the coming weeks, including much more photos and experiences, as told by the students themselves! In the meantime, check out this video compiled by students, displaying the fantastic work they did over the course of the trip. #FresnoStateServes