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Award Winners Announced


Washington, D.C., 28 September 2014 (PAHO /WHO) – The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO ) and the PAHO Foundation have announced the winners of the 2014 Awards for Excellence in Public Health.

This year the honorees hail from Argentina, Bolivia, México, Peru and the United States.

The Velasco-Suárez Award for Excellence in Bioethics, named after the famed Dr. Manuel Velasco-Suárez, founder of the National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery and former Governor of Chiapas is bestowed upon Argentina native, Dr. Ignacio Mastroleo for his proposal titled “Obligaciones de investigadores y patrocinadores: el modelo de reciprocidad democrática”. The project seeks to develop a model in bioethics across Latin American societies for the multiple actors involved in research with human beings. The award will support Dr. Mastroleo’s research and scholarly activities for one year.
Dr. Javier Torres-Goitía Torres MD, MPH of Bolivia, received the Sérgio Arouca Aaward for Universal Health Care for his actions and public health policies that led to the eradication of endemic goiter (an enlargement of the thyroid gland) and improvements in maternal and infant health within his native country. He also received the 2014 Abraham Horwitz Award for Excellence in Public Health Leadership in recognition to a lifelong dedication to public policy and the cross-border implications of his work as well as his continued contributions today by mentoring others. His service to public health spans decades.

Dr. Mario Alberto Rodríguez Pérez of México is awarded the Fred Soper Award for Excellence in Public Health Literature for his article “Development of a Novel Trap for the Collection of Black Flies of the Simulium ochraceum Complex” (PLoS ONE

8(10): e76814. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0076814). The article proposes for an innovative use of low-cost technology for the control and elimination of onchocerciasis ("River Blindness"), an incapacitating vector-borne disease that affects poor and unprotected populations.

For the second consecutive year, a graduate of Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Lima, Peru, will receive the Pedro Acha Award for Excellence in Veterinary Public Health: Dr. Virginia Micaela De la Puente León. Her thesis titled “Enteric Bacteria with zoonotic potential in Neotropical primates in captivity, Perú” highlights the potential health threat that monkeys in captivity may pose to humans.

Finally, the U.S. based nonprofit, Water with Blessings is given the Award for Excellence in Voluntary Service Organization. The organization seeks to promote access to safe drinking-water in the Americas by through distribution of low-cost water filtration systems and educating members of the community to maintain them.

The cash awards and plaques are presented by PAHO Directing Council on September 29, 2014 by PAHO ’s Director Dr. Carissa Etienne and President and CEO of PAHO Foundation Dr. Jennie Ward-Robinson, at a ceremony honoring all the winners of the 2014 Awards for Excellence in Inter-American Public Health held later this evening.

“These Awards recognize the outstanding leadership of public health professionals and the non-profits that serve the America’s” said Dr. Ward-Robinson. “PAHO Foundation recognizes these important issues and the dedicated pioneers that serve throughout the United States, Latin America, Canada and the Caribbean.”



See the 2014 Awards for Excellence in Inter-American Public Health Awardees