The Institute of Health Studies is born from the need to respond to the growing demands and the new academic and research challenges presented by the health sector in the Province of Iquique, and by means of Decree Nº. 621 of August 13, 1996 of the Arturo Prat University, an organization dependent on the Academic Vice-Rector’s Office is created to propose suitable responses, generate solutions and be a facilitating base for development inside and outside the University, gathering interests of people and organizations, both governmental and private.

The Institute of Health Studies (Instituto de Estudios de la Salud – IES) of the Arturo Prat University aims to satisfy the diverse information needs that are required. Currently, he has focused on the study of height, through the development of lines of research and innovation generation potentials in the areas of metabolic disorders, hypoxia, psychological, social, behavioral factors, team work in controlled conditions, among others.

The Institute has constituted a human and study group, which has attracted the recognition of its national and international peers, Positioning itself at present as one of the leaders in this problem. His activity has focused on aspects ranging from beneficial adaptation processes to diseases such as acute mountain disease and its variations, chronic mountain sickness and pulmonary hypertension. All of them recognized by the World Health Organization and described for chronic exposure, but there is an important knowledge gap in the work of intermittent exposure to height.

All of them recognized by the WHO and described for chronic exposure, but there is a significant knowledge gap in intermittent exposure work at altitude.

Thanks to the creation of the Institute of Health Studies (Instituto de Estudios de la Salud – IES), it has been possible to start a career in Nursing, the Laboratory of Physiology of Height and Degree in Biological and Health Sciences.

The Institute has two PhDs in Public Health, experts in the area of high altitude medicine, with more than 10 years of experience. He has training at the Autonomous University of Madrid, with researchers who work collaboratively.

The laboratory of the Institute of Health Studies of the Arturo Prat University, thanks to the award of various projects, has advanced technology equipment, that satisfy the research needs.

Throughout his 22 years, the Institute of Health Studies has been awarded seven national projects, thanks to funds from the Regional Government, and three international projects.

The main objectives have been:

  • Carry out applied and innovative research that would allow generating solutions in different biological, medical and quality of life aspects of intermittent work at height.
  • Create new capabilities and competencies at the doctoral postgraduate level of researchers in the Tarapacá region.
  • Maintain a constant transfer of knowledge and training of the regional community.
  •  Definitely position the Tarapacá region as the most important reference in high altitude medicine, nationally and internationally.

These objectives were addressed and developed by the Institute of Health Studies of the Arturo Prat University, led by doctors Julio Brito and Patricia Siqués, achieving important milestones for the Tarapacá region in terms of improving the region's own human capital and innovation applied to regional needs.

Regarding applied research and lines of research, it was possible to publish in scientific journals with a high impact factor, which is a quality sign that the research is carried out with scientific rigor and is of interest to the community. Among the recent publications that are framed within this project, the work of: “Long-Term Chronic Intermittent Hypobaric Hypoxia Induces Glucose Transporter (GLUT4) Translocation Through AMP-Activated Protein Kinase (AMPK) in the Soleus Muscle in Lean Rats”, which managed to be published in a journal with a higher impact factor: Frontiers of Physiology.

In addition, it should be noted that new capacities were developed in the human resources group of the Institute of Health Studies, which has allowed for a broader vision, training and capacity and access to new advanced technologies, which are found in countries more developed. In this project, it was possible to empower three researchers, through a Master's Degree in Pharmacological Research, carried out at the Autonomous University of Madrid in Spain.

Lastly, the leverage with other projects in foreign countries is highlighted, such as Germany, in which the Chilean-German Institute for the Research of Pulmonary Hypoxia and its Health Sequelae (DECIPHER) was created, which will make it possible to deepen the studies of effects high due to pulmonary hypoxia, materializing through joint research, articulation of binational work groups, exchange of scientists and students, as well as training on the area.

The United States is another country with which it has an important cooperation agreement, through the well-known "PHEnOM" program on physiological, health, and environmental observations in microgravity, which will develop students from the Tarapacá region to become the first astronauts. scientists, Iquiqueños and Chileans.

Institute of Health Studies has managed to cross borders, positioning the Tarapacá region as a benchmark in High Altitude Medicine, nationally and internationally in scientific research.


Deliver and propose answers and solutions to the academic and research needs of the region in the field of health, with emphasis on those that are of special concern at Arturo Prat University. Likewise, act as facilitator and bridge in the development of these subjects between the University and the Community.


To be a center of research of first line and reference in aspects of Public Health and molecular physio-biology, in matters relevant to local health, linked to development and regional needs, such as high-altitude medicine. Consequently, focus on active participation in training, teaching and consulting.

Line of research

Work in Chronic Intermittent Hypobaria due to High Altitude (Matriz).

  • Epidemiology
  • High altitude pulmonary hypertension
  • Fatty Acids and Obesity
  • Endothelial dysfunction
  • Glycemia and Insulin
  • Leptin and Obesity
  • Systemic Blood Pressure
  • Effect of metals in hypoxia
  • Oxidative stress

Regional Government – Competitiveness Innovation Fund (FIC) Project

The Innovation Fund for Competitiveness (FIC) was created in 2006 and is the main state instrument for financing scientific research, business innovation and entrepreneurship projects, among others.

Only specialized public agencies apply to this fund. The main ones are: Innova Chile, from CORFO, and CONICYT. Additionally, there are programs implemented through the Foundation for Agrarian Innovation (FIA), the Millennium Science Initiative (ICM) and some programs of the Ministry of Education.

Since 2012, the Health Study Institute has been awarded projects to improve the human, technological and scientific capital of the region. Thanks to the Regional Government of Tarapacá, the Institute of Health Studies has been able to develop innovative research through state-of-the-art technology, specialization of its researchers, seminars and talks by great national and international experts and, mainly, position the region as a benchmark of medicine research in height. 

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