WHO Collaborating Center

The UNM Office for Community Health (OCH) is internationally recognized as one of three North American institutions designated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a “WHO Collaborating Center for Innovative Health Workers Education, Service and Research Models.” The designation, proposed by the Pan American Health Organization and approved by WHO’s central headquarters in Geneva, reflects the role UNM plays in modeling innovative approaches to health professions education which meet community health needs.

As a Collaborating Center, OCH presents its innovations globally and hosts visitors from institutions in the Americas and beyond. The Center is unique in acknowledging how many of its innovations are adapted from other countries such as Kenya, the Philippines and Brazil.

The UNM Center is also a member of other international organizations, including WHO-affiliate TheNET which serves as the research arm of The Network (The Network: Towards Unity for Health); the Beyond Flexner Alliance, an inter-professional organization promoting the social mission in health professions education; and the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA).

World Health Organization Collaborating Center is committed to:

Integrating social accountability learning into undergraduate and graduate health profession education. The Center works with the Consortium for Advancement of Social Accountability of Health Professions Education in the Americas and collaborates with health professional schools in Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Nicaragua, Mexico, Cuba and Jamaica.
Acting as a consulting center for best practices in addressing social determinants of health by hosting visitors from other institutions and serving as a consultant abroad for established and new schools
Leveraging UNM’s expertise in developing and implementing a set of service-learning innovations. These include expanding the Health Sciences Center’s role as the one-stop shop for medical, social and behavioral health services, Health Extension Regional Officers (HEROs), who place community-located agents linking local health needs with UNM resources, and Community Health Workers, who screen for and address adverse social determinants of health.


The WHO Collaborating Center is headed by Arthur Kaufman, MD, Distinguished Professor of Family and Community Medicine and Vice Chancellor for Community Health, Amy Clithero, PhD, MBA, Senior Lecturer in Family and Community Medicine, and Laura Parajon, MD, MPH, Executive Director of the Office for Community Health/Associate Professor of Family and Community Medicine