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“Our goal must be a world in which good health is a pillar of individual well-being, national progress, and international stability and peace. This cannot be achieved without partnerships involving governments, international organizations, the business community, and civil society.”

— Kofi A. Annan, ex-Secretary-General of the United Nations

About the Foundation 

Richard Van West-Charles, M.D., M.P.H.


Since 2003, Dr. Richard Van West-Charles has served as area manager of the Information and Knowledge Management Unit housed in the headquarters of the Pan American Health Organization, the World Health Organizationís Regional Office for the Americas (PAHO) based in Washington DC. He joined the organization in 1990 as PAHO/WHO program officer for the Eastern Caribbean and PAHO/WHO representative in Jamaica and Bahamas. He had a fast-track public health career in his native Guyana. Dr. Van West-Charles was appointed minister of health, water, housing, and the environment in 1980, just a year after receiving his medical degree from the University of Havana. After five years in that post, he became minister for medical education, food policy, and environment. He holds a master's degree in public health from the University of Michigan, and has done private clinical practice as a general practitioner. He holds dual citizenship in Guyana and Canada, where he completed his secondary and undergraduate education, the latter at McMaster University.

Dr. Van West-Charles joined the board of trustees of the Pan American Health and Education Foundation in April 2006.