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PAHEF and PAHO Honor Distinguished Brazilian for Leadership in Inter-American Public Health

WASHINGTON, DC (September 18, 2012) – Dr. Paulo Marchiori Buss, a Brazilian pioneer of public health partnerships, was honored last night as winner of the 2012 Abraham Horwitz Award for Excellence in Leadership in Inter-American Public Health. Presented by the Pan American Health and Education Foundation (PAHEF) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the award recognizes Dr. Buss’s lifetime commitment to public health, advocating for and addressing the social determinants of health (SDH) and health inequalities. It was presented by Dr. Rafael Pérez-Escamilla, chair of the PAHEF board of directors, and Dr. Mirta Roses Periago, PAHO director, at a special event in Washington, DC.

Dr. Buss has been instrumental in the conceptualization and implementation of ground-breaking public health partnerships. As a public health leader, he founded the Brazilian Public Health Association (Associação Brasileira de Saúde Coletiva, ABRASCO), one of the most important public health institutions in the Americas. As an advisor to various ministries of health in the region, he has played a key role in influencing national and regional dialogue as well as public health policy. He has advocated for and implemented an inter-sectoral SDH approach that ultimately addresses inequalities and inequities. At the World Conference on Social Determinants of Health and the Regional Consultation on SDH in the Americas in 2011, he was instrumental in bringing different stakeholders to the table to discuss inequities in health and share experiences on policies and strategies aimed at reducing health inequities. The Rio Political Declaration on the SDH, issued at the end of the conference, was subsequently endorsed by the 65th World Health Assembly and expresses a global political commitment to the implementation of the SDH approach to reduce health inequities and to achieve other global priorities.

“I am thrilled to receive the Abraham Horwitz Award for Excellence in Leadership in Inter-American Public Health, as it is a symbol of all that this man represents - a vital part in the contemporary institutionalization of PAHO for my generation. I hope that I am successful in honoring the distinction that I have received by keeping my commitment to international cooperation in health in our America,” said Dr. Buss.

Dr. Don I. Tharpe, chief executive officer and president of PAHEF, remarked, “Dr. Buss has played a pivotal role in the creation of an interactive and progressive public health culture in Brazil as well as regionally and globally. His support of efforts to address health inequities in the region and his role in supporting technical cooperation among the countries on SDH, health promotion, sustainable development, and public health policy, have had a profound influence in regional representation and participation in the global public health arena.”

Since 1975, the Abraham Horwitz Award for Excellence in Leadership in Inter-American Public Health recognizes leadership that has changed lives and improved health of the people of the Americas. The award was created to honor the lifetime accomplishments of Dr. Abraham Horwitz, former PAHO director and later PAHEF president. The award is one of six in the PAHO/PAHEF Awards for Excellence in Inter-American Public Health Program, which was established in 1975.

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