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International Awards » Bioethics 

The Manuel Velasco-Suárez Award in Bioethics 2004

Debora Diniz, Ph.D., Universidade Estatal do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. Research Project: "Genetics Information and Justice: A Bioethical challenge"

Debora Diniz of Brazil Wins the 2002 Manuel Velasco-Suárez Award in Bioethics

Suarez 2002 (1)
The Pan American Health and Education Foundation, a US-based non-profit partner of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) awarded the Manuel Velasco-Suárez Award on Bioethics to Dr. Debora Diniz for her proposed research, "Genetic Information and Justice: a bioethical challenge. Dr. Diniz, a Brazilian anthropologist and professor of Bioethics at the University of Rio de Janeiro, is the first recipient of the newly created bioethics award.

The topic of justice and human genetics is timely and appropriate for Brazil, Latin America, and beyond. The project will target 10 professionals from various disciplines who will analyze the fields of disability, genetics and social justice in healthcare. Dr. Diniz will publish a book based on her research that will be complemented by a teacher training project to be developed by the Institute of Bioethics, Human Rights and Gender (ANIS), Brazil.

Suarez 2002 (2)
The award was presented to Dr. Diniz by Mr. Matthew McHugh, a Trustee of the Foundation, in an official ceremony during the Pan American Sanitary Conference, hold in Washington D.C. on 25 September 2002. Among the guests attending the ceremony were: Dr. George Alleyne, Director of PAHO; Dr. Julio Frenk Mora, Secretary of Health of Mexico; Dr. Barjas Negri, Minister of Health of Brazil; Dr. Patricio Jarimska, Minister of Health of Ecuador and President of the Conference; Dr. David Brandling-Bennett, Deputy Director of PAHO; Dr. Jesus Velasco, the son of Dr. Velasco-Suárez, and his wife, Mrs. Elisa Bezauri de Velasco; Ms. Jess Gersky, Executive Director of the Pan American Health and Education Foundation; and Ms. Hilda Davila, Director of the Bilateral and Regional Affairs of the Secretary of Health of Mexico.

Born in Maceio, Alagoas, in northeastern Brazil, Dr. Diniz holds a doctoral degree in Anthropology from the University of Brasilia and a post doctorate internship from the University of Leeds, United Kingdom. She is a director of ANIS in Brazil and the Centre for the Study of Global Ethics at the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom.

Suarez 2002 (3)
Bioethics is an emerging discipline in health extending to highly diverse areas. Its principles seek to humanize and mediate the headlong advance of science, technology and global development based on the interaction and dialogue between experts and lay people. This area is considered an important dimension of biomedical humanities, and has become an aspect of critical importance in the biomedical and social sciences, health care and public health.

The Manuel Velasco-Suárez Award is intended to stimulate young scholars in the development of their capacities for bioethical analysis. The Foundation created the award in partnership with the Government of Mexico and the Pan American Health Organization. The award honors the outstanding professional career of Dr. Manuel Velasco-Suárez, a Mexican physician, researcher, scholar, and founder of Mexicoís National Institute of Neurology and the Mexican National Bioethics Commission. The award is named for Dr. Velasco-Suárez in recognition of his long-time commitment to research and teaching and his deep interest in the furtherance of knowledge.

During his lifetime, he enjoyed worldwide recognition for his achievements in medicine and the organization of health services. He founded the National Institute of Neurology in Mexico and was its director between 1964 and 1970. In 1985, Dr. Velasco-Suárez received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work as a member of the group, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. He died in December 2001.

The award consists of a certificate of merit and a cash prize of $10,000 that will help support the work of the winner. Award winners are selected by a distinguished jury appointed by the Board of Trustees of the Pan American Health and Education Foundation and the Director of PAHO.




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