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Cayetano Heredia University
Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia
Seal of Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia
Motto Spiritus ubi vult spirat (The spirit spreads wherever it wants)
Established 1961
Type Private University
Rector Dra. Fabiola León Velarde
Location Lima, Peru

Cayetano Heredia University (Spanish: Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, (UPCH) or simply Cayetano Heredia) is a private university located in Lima, Peru. It was named in honor of Cayetano Heredia, one of the eminent Peruvian physicians of the 19th century. The university is overseen by a Board of Trustees (patronato) and is not actually property of any private or state entity. It is considered one of the top medical schools (along the Faculty of Medicine "San Fernando" of National University of San Marcos) in Peru, and is currently one of the majors publishers of scientific articles in the country.



It was founded in 1961 by a group of professors and students from the school of medicine of the four-century-old National University of San Marcos also in Lima. This group of students and professors expressed their strong disagreement with legislation, inspired by the APRA, a political party interested in the absolute control of the University system in the country. The legislation advocated the "co-government" of all the state universities by the so-called "student one-third" which would clearly politicize the academic enterprise. The dissenting group was led by Drs.Honorio Delgado, the most brilliant Latin American psychiatrist of the century, and Alberto Hurtado, laureate scientific high-altitude researcher and then, Dean of the Medical School at San Marcos. As their campaign to preserve academics failed, the 400 plus faculty members had no other option but to resign "en masse", and found the new medical school as a private non-profit academic institution. This happened in 1961 and the first classes commenced in April 1962. Some "die hard" individuals have suggested that these events were the subject of "prior arrangements/agreements" which, in the political context of the time, would have been practically impossible. Forty-seven years later, Cayetano Heredia and San Marcos are the most prestigious medical schools in Peru. The frequent edition of this page evidences a friendly rivalry that persists between these two Universities concerning the interpretation of these events.




The rectors of the university, since its foundation, are:

  • Dr.Honorio Delgado (1962-1967)
  • Dr. Alberto Hurtado (1967-1969)
  • Dr. Carlos Monge (1970-1972)
  • Dr. Enrique Fernandez (1973-1976)
  • Dr. Alberto Cazorla (1976-1977, 1984-1989)
  • Dr. Homero Silva (1977-1984)
  • Dr. Roger Guerra Garcia (1989-1994)
  • Dr. Carlos Vidal Layseca (1994-1999)
  • Dr. Ozwaldo Zegarra (1999-2007)
  • Dra. Fabiola León-Velarde (2008-2013)



Soon after its founding and during the next following forty plus years Cayetano Heredia University became a significant center of higher learning and scientific research in Peru. UPCH is credited to be responsible for most of the world-quality research production in the area of health sciences in Peru.Vilchez 2009Cuevas 2005.

It is a rather small (under 2,000 students) school that focuses on the disciplines of Medicine, Dentistry, Natural Sciences, Public Health, Veterinary, Nursing, Psychology and Education. It grants baccalaureate degrees as well as advanced Master and doctoral degrees in biochemistry, biotechnology, medicine, biology, etc.


Cayetano Heredia University has established numerous agreements and collaborative arrangements with leading institutions from all over the world, including the Johns Hopkins University, University of Washington, University of California San Diego, University of California Berkeley, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and the Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine in Belgium, among others.

The Instituto de Medicina Tropical Alexander von Humboldt (Tropical Medicine Institute) is among the top research institutions in tropical medicine in Latin America, with ongoing investigations in tuberculosis, leishmaniasis, malaria and HIV, both in its site in Lima and in several field sites such as Iquitos, Cuzco and La Merced. The institute is also internationally recognized for the Gorgas Course in Clinical Tropical Medicine [1], given jointly with UAB.

The Instituto de Investigaciones de la Altura ( High Altitude Research Institute) is also known for its contribution to the understanding of high altitude physiology and the pathophysiology of acute and chronic high altitude sickness.


The Logo of Cayetano Heredia is a yellow shield with the words "Spiritus ubi vult spirat" on the sides. In the middle, there is the Scalupius symbol of medicine (a flame surrounded by a serpent).

Seal of Cayetano Heredia University

Notable Alumni

Renato D. Alarcon - Professor of Psychiatry, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Medical Director Mood Disorders Unit, Mayo Psychiatry and Psychology Treatment Center, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA. Currently, Dr. Alarcon is the holder of the Honorio Delgado Chair of Psychiatry at his alma mater in Lima, Peru.

Thomas Kirchhausen - Professor of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School and Senior Researcher at Harvard University

Carlos Bustamante

Humberto Guerra- Professor of Medicine, Vice-rector for Research, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia. Lima, Peru

Ernesto Freire

Ciro Maguiña - Researcher at the Alexander Von Humboldt Institute of Tropical Diseases

Juan Mezzich

Maria C. Freire

Eduardo Gotuzzo

Luis R. Espinoza- Professor of Medicine, Chief Division of Rheumatology, Louisiana State University, New Orleans, LA, USA

Graciela S. Alarcon - Jane Knight Lowe Chair of Medicine in Rheumatology (Emeritus) and Professor of Epidemiology. Schools of Medicine and Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA

Alfonso Solimano


External links


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