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PAHO and PAHEF Present Inter-American Leadership Award to Dr. Cesar Victora of Brazil

WASHINGTON, DC, September 29, 2008—Today the Pan American Health Organization and the Pan American Health and Education Foundation presented Dr. Cesar Victora of Brazil with the highly-coveted 2008 Abraham Horwitz Award for Leadership in Inter-American Health for his outstanding dedication and contribution to maternal and child health in the Americas. The award was presented at the 48th Directing Council meeting of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) by the President of the Directing Council and Dr. Benjamin Caballero, Board Chair of the Pan American Health and Education Foundation (PAHEF).

For 40 years, Dr. Victora has taken the lead in addressing health problems of mothers and children, particularly the areas of infant nutrition and child growth, in Latin America and worldwide.

Dr. Benjamin Caballero presented a framed certificate of honor and a cash prize of $5000 at the annual meeting of the ministers of health of all the countries of the Americas. He remarked, “Dr. Victora coordinates the largest birth cohort study in a developing country, in which nearly 6000 persons from Brazil have been followed from birth to 25 years of age.” Dr. Caballero also noted that this study “has documented the impact of child care, of patterns of health services utilization.” Dr. Caballero pointed out to the ministers and other dignitaries that Dr. Victora’s research on the role of breastfeeding in reducing morbidity and mortality has shaped global policy in infectious disease control and child health.

PAHEF Executive Director, Edward L. Kadunc, hosted a luncheon earlier today to honor Dr. Victora. Mr. Kadunc welcomed everyone and spoke of the winner’s achievements, “Dr. Victora is a leading thinker and policy developer in the field of child health. In this role, he was invited to coordinate the Child Survival series of the British medical journal, the Lancet and the more recent Malnutrition series, which have been so successful in raising the visibility of child health in the world.” Kadunc also added, “A widely-respected educator and mentor, beginning in 1991 Dr. Victora laid the groundwork and oversaw the growth of the first-class Post-Graduate Program in Epidemiology at the University of Pelotas in Brazil. This program has expanded into a world-class regional center of excellence recognized as a Collaborating Centre in Maternal Health and Nutrition of the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization and by the Wellcome Trust (U.K.).” Joining Kadunc with words of congratulations were PAHEF board members Mr. Michael Boorstein, Dr. Daniel Gutierrez, and Ambassador Sally Shelton-Colby as well as PAHO Assistant Director, Dr. Socorro Gross.

The Abraham Horwitz Award for Leadership in Inter-American Health, created in 1975, was established to honor Dr. Horwitz who served as the PAHO Director and as PAHEF President for 25 years. Since 1975, the award has recognized 33 creative public health leaders whose commitment to public health stimulates excellence among their peers, staff, and other public health professionals. Further, the leadership demonstrated by award winners has an impact beyond their borders and throughout the Americas. The Horwitz Award is one of five awards in the Awards for Excellence in Inter-American Public Health Program, a partnership between the PAHO and PAHEF and is presented by PAHEF annually.

The Pan American Health and Education Foundation is a US-based nonprofit organization working to combat disease, lengthen life, improve health care services, foster health research, and enhance the capacities of health care workers in the Americas through grant-making and direct program implementation. As an independent organization, PAHEF supports the Pan American Health Organization’s vision of Health for All.

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