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PAHEF, PAHO, and the Secretary of Health in Mexico Celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Manuel Velasco Suárez Award for Excellence in Bioethics with Event in Mexico City

Media contact: Ashley Gatewood
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WASHINGTON, DC (March 4, 2011) – Today, the Pan American Health and Education Foundation (PAHEF), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and the Secretary of Health in Mexico honored the 10th anniversary of the creation of the Manuel Velasco Suárez Award for Excellence in Bioethics. The event also served as an opportunity to honor Dr. Velasco’s legacy and stress the important role bioethics, a field that examines advances in medicine and science in relation to ethical issues, plays in Latin American society. As recent progress has been made in stem cell research, organ transplants, and other controversial topics, bioethics has emerged as an important discipline.

Dr. José Ángel Córdova Villalobos,
Secretary of Health, Mexico, and
Edward Kadunc, President of PAHEF
The event was hosted at the Ministry of Health in Mexico City and featured a variety of speakers from the public health field: Dr. Manuel Ruiz de Chávez, President of the Council of the National Commission on Bioethics; Mr. Edward L. Kadunc, President of PAHEF; and Dr. José Ángel Córdova Villalobos, Secretary of Health in Mexico and President of PAHO’s 2011 Directing Council. The 2010 winner of the award, Dr. Paulina Taboada of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, was the final speaker. She discussed her winning project proposal, “Ethical issues related to end-of-life sedation.”

Mr. Kadunc’s address focused on how the award was created in 2002, “…the three partners wanted to promote the study of bioethics in the region while showcasing to the world that researchers in Latin America and the Caribbean were producing important, ground-breaking work in this discipline.” He also thanked the Secretary of Health in Mexico for their continued financial support of the award.

The call for nominations is currently open for the 2011 Manuel Velasco Suárez Award for Excellence in Bioethics, as well as the other five awards in the PAHO/PAHEF Awards for Excellence Inter-American Public Health Program, at

Dr. Manuel Ruiz de Chávez, Presidente del Consejo de la Comisión Nacional de Bioética; Maria de los Angeles Fromow, Directora de la Unidad Coordinadora de Vinculación y Participación Social; Dr. Jesús Agustín Velasco Siles; Edward Kadunc, President of PAHEF
The winner of the Manuel Velasco Suárez Award for Excellence in Bioethics receives a US$10,000 grant to fund his or her proposed work, a certificate of honor, a symbolic representation of the award, and a medal given by the Velasco Suárez family. The awardee is invited to attend the PAHO Directing Council Meeting and will be a guest of honor at PAHO/PAHEF’s awards program event in Washington, DC. The awardee will be able to address ministers of health of the hemisphere, their delegations, and invited guests of PAHO at Directing Council with a speech related to the topic of his or her proposal.

Dr. Manuel Velasco Suárez (1914 – 2001), born in the state of Chiapas in Mexico, was a leading pioneer in the field of bioethics, which is a field that examines the ethical implications of advances in medicine and science. He made significant contributions to Mexico’s medical profession by founding such institutions as the National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery and the Mexican Academy of Bioethics. Additionally, he was the governor of Chiapas from 1970 – 1976.

View more photos from the event here.


ABOUT THE AWARDS: The PAHO/PAHEF Awards for Excellence in Inter-American Public Health stimulate the growth of the next and rising generation of leaders working together to improve health and health care in the Americas. A jury of distinguished public health professionals reviews nominations and recommends a candidate for each award to the board of directors of the Foundation for final selection. The awards have the unique distinction of recognizing both established and emerging contributors to the field of public health within the Western Hemisphere. Throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, the awards are recognized as a career-defining achievement that brings honor and recognition.

ABOUT PAHO: The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) was established in 1902 and is the world’s oldest 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 Americas and serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO).

ABOUT PAHEF: Founded in 1968, the Pan American Health and Education Foundation (PAHEF) is a U.S.-based 501(c)(3) public charity that works with the Pan American Health Organization (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.


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Submit Nomination Deadline 05.13.2011 17:00 hs 20
A Sample of Recent PAHEF Projects in the Region