Sérgio Arouca, MD (1941 - 2003)
Born in Ribeirão Preto in 1941, Antonio Sérgio da Silva Arouca died in 2003 to the profound sadness of friends, admirers, former students, and public officials who recognized in him one of the great thinkers and leaders of health sector reform in Brazil. His work helped to lay the foundation of Brazil's universal health care system.
While he was a teacher, researcher, politician, and man of many roles, it was as a public health professional that Arouca preferred to be known. Arouca became president of Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (FIOCRUZ) in 1985 after nine years as a professor at the Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública. At FIOCRUZ he began a far-reaching revitalization of the institution. By surrounding himself with emerging leaders that shared an innovative public health mentality, he succeeded in restoring the institution to the prestigious position it had held since its founding.
In 1989, after serving as President of FIOCRUZ, Arouca ran for the vice presidency of the republic on the ticket of Senator Roberto Freire. Although defeated, the two succeeded in making science and technology issues in the presidential campaign.
Sérgio Arouca was first elected as a federal representative in 1990 and returned to the National Congress in 1998 as a federal representative for Rio de Janeiro. In 2003, he assumed what was to be his last public office—Secretary for Participatory Management of the Ministry of Health, under which he called for the holding of the 12th National Health Conference. This was an event he did not live to see, dying several months before it was held.