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Press Release: PAHO Foundation Names Simone Acha as Chair of Board of Directors

Media Contact:
Elly Brtva, MPH, President & CEO, a.i.
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 30, 2014) – PAHO Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of Simone Acha as Chair of the Board of Directors.  PAHO Foundation, formerly known as PAHEF (Pan American Health and Education Foundation), works as the philanthropic arm of the Pan American Health Organization to mobilize resources and advocate the strategic agenda of PAHO.  The Foundation welcomes Acha to this role and eagerly anticipates the leadership she will bring to achieving PAHO Foundation’s mission.  In addition to her service on the Executive Committee, she participates on the Marketing and Communications Committee and is an inaugural member of the PAHO Foundation Salud Society.

Acha recently retired as the Vice President of Enterprise Technology Solutions at Electronic Computing Services (ECS) Federal, Inc. to pursue her next career focused on social change.  She is actively engaged in programs dedicated to increasing the number of women and minorities pursuing careers in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).  She is also currently serving as an Executive Coach and providing IT Consultant services on selected engagements. Previously, Acha served as Chief Executive Officer of iLuMinA Solutions Incorporated until it was acquired by ECS in the fall of 2012.  She is a focused, results-oriented senior executive with a 27-year record of demonstrated achievements and success in both the commercial and federal sector.  She is driven in applying leadership and management skills to champion strategic direction, identifying opportunities, building strong relationships, and delivering results.  She has demonstrated talents in managing tactical operations for various industries.

Acha is a world traveler, an avid reader, and a former docent at The Corcoran Art Museum in Washington D.C.  Additional memberships include: Virginia Tech SERGE Board; Smithsonian Science Education Center Board; Washington Exec STEM Council and Founders Circle; Women in Technology; AFCEA; American Red Cross’ Tiffany Circle and Salute to Society Gala Committee; and one of the Million Women Mentors.  She draws her heritage from Latin America and Europe and resides in Arlington, Virginia.

Acha is a graduate of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research and holds a Minor in English.

Acha’s father, Dr. Pedro N. Acha, worked for PAHO from 1957 until his retirement.  He was a world-renowned public health veterinarian and international health expert dedicated to the promotion of public health throughout the world.  The Foundation established a scholarship in his memory, which is funded by the Acha family.  The Pedro N. Acha Award for Excellence in Veterinary Public Health, created in 1993, recognizes the importance of veterinary public health to the peoples of the Americas and to countries’ economies.

On Acha being named Chair of the Board, Eleanor “Elly” Brtva, MPH, CFRE, Interim President and Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Philanthropy Officer of PAHO Foundation, remarked, “We are so pleased to have Ms. Acha serving in this role. Since joining the board, she has demonstrated her vision, passion and business acumen. Her business background, her philanthropy and her intimate knowledge of PAHO and growing up in the PAHO family gives her a very unique perspective to lead this organization.  With her leadership, the Foundation is poised to support PAHO’s public health work in the Americas through a phenomenal year in philanthropy.”

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About PAHO Foundation: PAHO Foundation, formerly known as PAHEF (Pan American Health and Education Foundation), works as the philanthropic arm of the Pan American Health Organization to mobilize resources and advocate the strategic agenda of PAHO. The Foundation seeks to strengthen PAHO’s ability to improve and save lives in the Americas, and to set an example for the rest of the world in public health philanthropy. The Foundation fully supports PAHO’s mission of promoting equity in health, combating disease, and improving the health, longevity and quality of life of all the peoples of the Americas. For more information regarding PAHO Foundation, please visit:  www.pahofoundation.org.

About PAHO: The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), founded in 1902, is the world’s oldest international public health agency. It provides technical cooperation and mobilizes partnerships to improve health and quality of life in the countries of the Americas. PAHO is the specialized health agency of the Inter-American System and serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO). Together with WHO, PAHO is a member of the United Nations system.  For more information regarding PAHO, please visit: www.paho.org.