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Learn About the Winners of the 2011 Awards for Excellence in Inter-American Public Health 2011

PAHO and PAHEF Honor Innovative Public Health Figures Who Are Advancing Health in the Americas

nomination_lightbox_knowWASHINGTON, DC (September 27, 2011) – Last night, ministers of health, high-level delegates, ambassadors, U.S. government officials, and representatives from organizations, foundations, advocacy groups and private industry gathered for the third annual PAHO/PAHEF Awards for Excellence in Inter-American Public Health event. Every year, the Pan American Health and Education Foundation (PAHEF) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) jointly bestow the Awards for Excellence in Inter-American Public Health to recognize contributions in the areas of leadership, health literature, veterinary public health, voluntary service, bioethics, and universal health care.

The event took place concurrently with the 51st PAHO Directing Council, in which ministers of health and other high-level health authorities from throughout the Western Hemisphere met to set regional health priorities.

PAHEF has an established history of bringing the public and private sectors together to convene public health projects in the Americas. “This event is a tremendous opportunity to help facilitate a dialogue between various sectors with a common interest in advancing public health in the Western Hemisphere and improving health throughout the Region,” said Edward L. Kadunc, president of PAHEF.

For more than 30 years, PAHEF has recognized and awarded individuals who have dedicated their lives to advancing public health and health care in the Americas. This is the third time PAHEF and PAHO presented the awards in an evening event. Additional information regarding the day’s activities, including the 51st PAHO Directing Council meeting and the awards event, can be found at

Watch a video of the event here

The following people received awards:

Dr. Peter Jay Hotez, Baylor College of Medicine
Dr. Hotez will receive the 2011 Abraham Horwitz Award for Excellence in Leadership in Inter-American Public Health in recognition of his outstanding contributions to health in the Americas in the fields of global health, vaccinology, and neglected tropical disease control. He has devoted his research career to developing vaccines for parasitic diseases, including hookworm, schistosomiasis, and Chagas.

Dr. Laura Adriana Albarellos, Universidad de la Américas Puebla, Mexico
Dr. Albarellos will receive the 2011 Manuel Velasco Suárez Award for Excellence in Bioethics for her proposal, Creating and using a system of gene banks for the establishment of public policies. The proposal presents a legislative framework, which operates in compliance with the Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights and International Declaration on Human Genetic Data guidelines, both belonging to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), for the use and operational coordination of genetic data banks to ensure efficiency and fairness in their application to public health in accordance with public safety, law enforcement, and justice administration.

Integrated Management of Adolescent and Adult Illness Program, Guyana
The Integrated Management of Adolescent and Adult Illness Program (IMAI) will receive the 2011 Sérgio Arouca Award for Excellence in Universal Health Care for its efforts to improve the health care system of the country in spite of the limited resources available. The objectives of IMAI are to protect the population from diseases, to deliver high-quality health services and to improve care and treatment of illnesses. To date, IMAI had been implemented in 246 health facilities in seven regions of Guyana. Additionally, approximately 417 health workers and 25 people living with HIV have been trained.

Women’s International Network for Guatemalan Solutions, Guatemala
The Women’s International Network for Guatemalan Solutions (WINGS) will receive the 2011 Clarence H. Moore Award for Excellence for Voluntary Service. Since 1999, WINGS has actively worked to improve the lives of Guatemalan families by providing them with education, access, and advocacy in family planning, reproductive health, and other public health programs and services. Today, WINGS runs five programs that reach more than 30,000 women, men and youth annually that have won international recognition for innovation and effectiveness.

Dr. Francisca Samsing, Mayor University, Chile
Dr. Samsing received the 2011 Pedro N. Acha Award for Excellence in Veterinary Public Health for her undergraduate thesis, Risk analysis of the dioxin, furan and DL-PCB contamination of pork meat by the feed materials that make up their diet. Consumers and regulatory authorities worldwide have concerns about the presence of dioxin and its precursors in foods and processed products of animal origin. In this context, Dr. Samsing’s thesis is a comprehensive literature review of dioxin, furans and polychlorinated biphenyls, focusing on their chemical structure and physiological and toxicological properties, their presence and distribution in the production chain of animals, and their effects on humans.

Dr. Ana Lucía Lovadino de Lima, University of São Paulo, Brazil
Leading author Dr. Lovadino de Lima will receive the 2011 Fred L. Soper Award for Excellence in Public Health Literature for the article Causes of the accelerated decline in child under nutrition in Northeastern Brazil (1986-1996-2006). The publication is an analysis of data from population-based health surveys of children under five years of age in 1986, 1996, and 2006 in northeastern Brazil. Addressing one of the Millennium Development Goals, the results have important policy implications for development and public health programs in the Americas and globally.

Other awards presented:

Dr. John Edward Greene
Dr. Greene will receive the 2011 PAHO Award for Administration. He is the former Assistant Secretary-General for Human and Social Development at the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), in which capacity he held a wide array of responsibilities, ranging from education, labor and culture to youth, gender and sports and extending to climate change and crime and security. Dr. Greene played a key role in the establishment of the new Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), which united five regional health institutions into a single subregional entity.

Peace Corps
The United States’ Peace Corps will receive special recognition in honor of its 50 years of service promoting peace and development in developing countries around the world. Inspired by the 1960 call to action by then-senator John F. Kennedy, Peace Corps has given several generations of American youths the opportunity to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries. During this first 50 years of service, more than 200,000 volunteers have served in 139 host countries working on issues ranging from AIDS education, to information technology and environmental preservation.

Congressman Silvestre Reyes
Congressman Reyes will receive special recognition for his outstanding leadership and advocacy for the improvement of the health and well-being of the people living along the U.S.-Mexico Border. He represents the people of El Paso, Texas, in the U.S. House of Representatives and has dedicated four decades of his life to public service. He has been an active leader and advocate in mobilizing resources and convening border health leaders during emergencies both sides of the border. As chair of the Border Health Caucus, Rep. Reyes introduced the Border Health Security Act of 2011 to strengthen and expand the United States Mexico Border Health Commission (USMBHC). He also established the annual U.S.-Mexico Border Issues Conference in Washington, D.C., in partnership with the Texas Medical Association, PAHO/WHO’s U.S.-Mexico Border Office, and the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce.

About PAHEF: The Pan American Health and Education Foundation (PAHEF) is dedicated to improving health in the Americas through health promotion, education, and training. Founded in 1968, PAHEF is a U.S.-based 501(c)(3) public charity that works with the PAHO and other strategic partners in the Americas to mobilize resources and jointly address key health, education, and training priorities. With a deep knowledge of major health concerns and strong relationships with key stakeholders in the region, PAHEF builds successful partnerships and projects that advance health in the Americas. For more information regarding PAHEF, please visit:

 About PAHO: The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) was established in 1902 and is the world’s oldest international public health organization. It works with all the countries of the Americas to improve the health and quality of life of the people of the hemisphere and serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO). For more information regarding PAHO/WHO, please visit:

About the Awards: The PAHO/PAHEF Awards for Excellence in Inter-American Public Health, established in 1975, honor dedicated professionals who led the way in advancing health conditions in the Americas during the last century. The awards stimulate the growth of the next and rising generation of leaders working together to improve health and health care in the Americas. For each award, a jury of distinguished public health professionals is convened to review the nominations and recommend a winning candidate to the board of directors of PAHEF for approval.

A Sample of Recent PAHEF Projects in the Region