BANASA FARM, Guatemala (April 14, 2014) - Standing before a gleaming new building rising from the surrounding ramshackle villages, Gustavo Bolaños delivered a simple yet powerful message to the assembled dignitaries and banana plantation workers.
“Today we are making the dream of my father a reality,” the chief operating officer of major fruit producer AgroAmérica said late last month. “My father Jose Fernando Bolaños believed in the dignity of work, in improving the lives of his employees and the welfare of the community. And this is the result.”
With that he opened the Center for Human Development, a multi-faceted medical facility developed by the Colorado School of Public Health and Children’s Hospital Colorado to serve some 4,500 banana workers and their families with plans to eventually expand into neighboring communities.
The center sits on 10-acres of AgroAmérica land and will be staffed by CU doctors, dentists, nurses, midwives, students and other health professionals rotating through Guatemala. The first physician, pediatric resident Jacob Mark, arrived April 1.
This is the university’s first permanent international presence and an outstanding example of a successful public-private partnership. Gustavo and Fernando Bolaños donated $1 million to the University of Colorado Denver in 2012 to help create the center whose initial design was drawn up by students from the CU Denver College of Architecture and Planning. Children’s Hospital Colorado stepped in as a major funder.