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Debora Diniz, Ph.D., Universidade Estatal do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

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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.

bioetica3__1_2_4574The 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.

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, DC, 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.

bioetica2__1_2_8196Born 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.

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 Mexico's 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.

Dr. Diniz serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics.

Rosa Angelina Pace, MD, Escuela de Medicina del Hospital Italiano, Buenos Aires, Argentina

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The Pan American Health and Education Foundation, a US-based non-profit partner of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) awarded the Manuel Velasco Suarez Award in Bioethics to Dr. Rosa Angelina Pace for her proposed research, "Organ transplants and the teaching of Bioethics" (Los transplantes de órganos y la enseñanza de la Bioética). Dr. Pace, an Argentinean medical doctor and coordinator of Bioethics at the Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires, is the second recipient of the bioethics award. The award was presented by Mr. Matthew McHugh, Treasurer of the Foundation, in an official ceremony during the Directing Council meeting of PAHO, held in Washington D.C., on 22 September.

PAHEF02Dr. Pace was given a silver medallion, a gift from the family of Dr. Manuel Velasco Suárez to honor his dedication to the dignity of humankind via bioethics.

In her remarks of acceptance, Dr. Pace said: "The thesis will make an exhaustive investigation concerning organ transplantation in Latin America and its relation to the problem of equity in health. This issue is an excellent subject for the teaching of bioethics to students, since it poses numerous ethical problems in medicine in general, and the specific issue of allocation of scarce resources can be studied based on the model of organ distribution. The idea of writing a textbook of bioethics for medical students based upon the subject of organ transplantation is timely for my country and other countries of this region."

Among the guests attending the ceremony were: Dr. Mirta Roses, Director of PAHO, Dr. Pedro García, Minister of Health of Chile and President of the Council, Dr. Roberto Tapia, Assistant Secretary of Preventive and Protective Health of the of Ministry of Health of Mexico, Dr. Carlos Vizzotti , Assistant Secretary of Sanitary Regulations and Research in Health of the Ministry of Health in Argentina, Dr. Joxel Garcia, Deputy Director of PAHO, Dr. Jesus Velasco Siles, the son of Dr. Velasco Suarez, and his wife, Mrs. Elisa Bezauri de Velasco, and Ms. Jess Gersky, Executive Director of the Pan American Health and Education Foundation.

PAHEF04Born in Chaco, Charata, in north Argentina, Dr. Pace holds a medical degree from the Universidad del Noreste and a masters degree in bioethics from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain. She is a surgeon at the Children's Hospital Dr. Pedro Elizalde and professor of Human Sciences in the School of Medicine at the Hospital Italiano, in Buenos Aires.

The Manuel Velasco Suárez Award in Bioethics has been introduced last year by the Pan American Health and Education Foundation and PAHO with the support of the Ministry of Health of Mexico, to recognize this emerging discipline. The field of Bioethics seeks to humanize and mediate the advances of science, technology and global development.

The award honors Dr. Manuel Velasco Suárez, Mexican physician, scientist, humanist and pacifist, who dedicated more than sixty years of his life to public health, becoming one of the pioneers of neurology and neurosurgery in Mexico and Latin America. He is a founder of the National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery, which now bears his name. He also was a pioneer in the field of bioethics in Mexico and Latin America, founder of the National Commission of Bioethics, and the Mexican National Academy of Bioethics. Outstanding among his numerous achievements are his receipt of the Medal of Honor from the American Association of Neurosurgery, more than 10 honorary doctorates from universities in Mexico and around the world, and recognition in Mexico as one of the 20 last wise-men at the end of the twentieth century.

He was a visionary man, a man who showed ideas and turned them into realities, always participating in outstanding creative activity, all for the purpose of serving humanity. His solid convictions, lead him to work in the field to prevent what would be the last pandemic of humanity, a nuclear war and was a founding member of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, which received the Nobel peace prize in 1985.

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.

The Pan American Health and Education Foundation is dedicated to the improvement of the health of the peoples of the Americas and to the support of PAHO programmatic objectives. Its grant making program and highly successful textbook and medical instrument program further the aims of public health in hemisphere. The Foundation also promotes public health through its International Award Programs. The Manuel Velasco Suárez Award in Bioethics is one of five awards organized yearly by the Foundation.

Prof. Patricia Sorokin, Argentina

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In 2006, Prof. Sorokin Was Elected Vice President of the Governing Commission of FLACEIS, Latin American Forum of Ethics Committees in Health Research

WASHINGTON, DC, September 26, 2005—Today, before an international forum of high-level government health officials, ambassadors, and other VIPs, a young researcher, professor Patricia Sorokin of Argentina, accepted the Manuel Velasco Suárez Award in Bioethics for her proposed research and its potential in advancing the field of bioethics in Latin America.

Sorokin_galardonA member of the Board of Trustees of the Pan American Health and Education Foundation presented a certificate of honor and the grant to professor Sorokin during the 46th Annual Directing Council meeting of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). She also gave the winner a gift from the family of Dr. Manuel Velasco Suárez, who was also in attendance, to memorialize his spirit of being united to protect the dignity of humankind via bioethics. The proposed research has importance for Latin America and Sorokin's proposal demonstrates her solid knowledge of bioethics. The speech concluded with, "We are proud to add your name to the list of international health leaders who have been recognized in this forum."

Earlier in the day at a recognition luncheon, the Executive Director of the Pan American Health and Education Foundation, Ms. Jess Gersky, congratulated Prof. Sorokin for being awarded this major grant in the field of bioethics in the Americas. She noted that "Bioethics is an emerging discipline in health with moral implications extending to highly diverse areas, health care, public health and social sciences. Professor Sorokin is a young scholar leading bioethics efforts in Latin America. We welcome her to our inter-American health family."

Novello_Sorokin_LuncheonThe Manuel Velasco Suárez Award in Bioethics was established to honor the late Dr. Velasco Suárez of Mexico, a pioneer in the field of bioethics in Latin America and to promote this emerging discipline. To stimulate young scholars in the development of their capacities for bioethical analysis, the Secretary of Health in Mexico and PAHEF in cooperation with PAHO created this award in 2002. This award is one of the awards of the Awards for Excellence in Inter-American Public Health Program, a partnership between the Foundation and PAHO.

The Pan American Health and Education Foundation is an independent philanthropic 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. PAHEF works to promote philanthropy as a core social value, and shares the Pan American Health Organization's vision of Health for All.

Download Prof. Patricia Sorokin's speech (pdf)

Prof. María Graciela de Ortúzar, Facultad de Ciencias Jurídicas y Sociales, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina.

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WASHINGTON, DC, September 27, 2004—Today, before an international forum of high-level government health officials, ambassadors and other VIPs, a young researcher, Professor Maria Graciela de Ortúzar of Argentina accepted the Manuel Velasco Suárez Award in Bioethics for her proposed work to research and develop a new international framework on the benefits of genetic research for Latin America.

GraCeremonyOn behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Pan American Health and Education Foundation, Ms. Patricia Schroeder presented a certificate of honor and the grant to Professor de Ortúzar during the 45th Annual Directing Council meeting of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). PAHO's Director, Dr. Mirta Roses Periago, gave her a silver medallion, a gift from the family of Dr. Manuel Velasco-Suárez who was also in attendance, to memorialize his spirit of being united to protect the dignity of humankind via bioethics. Ms. Schroeder remarked on the timeliness of Prof. de Ortúzar's proposed work entitled International Justice, Right to Health, Intellectual Property, and the Human Genome and its importance for Latin America. Ms. Schroeder concluded with, "We are proud to add your name to the list of international health leaders who have been recognized in this forum."

MVSDiplomaAt a luncheon held earlier in the day, the Executive Director of the Pan American Health and Education Foundation, Ms. Jess Gersky, thanked and congratulated Prof. de Ortúzar for her initiative and leadership in the field of bioethics in the Americas. She noted that "Bioethics has implications extending to highly diverse areas, such as the fields of the social sciences, health care and public health. Professor de Ortúzar joins other pioneer bioethicists on their journey to humanize and mediate the headlong advance of science, technology and global development based on the interaction and dialogue between experts and lay people."

The Manuel Velasco Suárez Award in Bioethics was established to honor the late Dr. Velasco Suárez of Mexico, a pioneer in the field of bioethics in Latin America and to promote this emerging discipline. To stimulate young scholars in the development of their capacities for bioethical analysis, the Secretary of Health in Mexico and the Foundation in cooperation with PAHO created this award in 2002. This award is one of five awards of the Awards for Excellence in Inter-American Public Health Program, a partnership between PAHEF and PAHO.

Download the winners speech (pdf)

Dr. Jorge Alberto Alvarez Díaz

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WASHINGTON, DC (October 1, 2007) — Today, a promising young scholar in bioethics, Dr. Jorge Alberto Alvarez Diaz of Mexico, accepted the Manuel Velasco-Suarez Award in Bioethics for his proposed research and its potential in advancing the field of bioethics in Latin America during the 27th Pan American Sanitary Conference proceedings.

Dr. Frederick Naftolin, a trustee of the Pan American Health and Education Foundation (PAHEF), presented this recognition for his proposed study of attitudes of Latin American couples seeking assisted reproductive services toward these services and preservation of human embryos. "Using the results of the opinion survey, Dr. Alvarez will develop a plan to create bioethics committees" in those Latin American countries that preserve embryos and report their work in reproductive health to the Latin American Network of Attended Reproduction." Dr. Naftolin concluded by noting the importance and timeliness of his research for Latin America.

The foundation's executive director, Ms. Jess Gersky, expressed her congratulations to Dr. Alvarez during a luncheon earlier today. "Bioethics has been a priority area of our Awards for Excellence in Inter-American Public Health Program since 2002. That year through the foundation, the Secretary of Health in cooperation with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) established a bioethics award to honor the late Dr. Manuel Velasco-Suarez, a pioneer in the field of bioethics in Latin America." Ms. Gersky spoke of the importance of the field of bioethics, especially as it applies to changes in medical science and technology such as the subject of Dr. Alvarez's proposed research-assisted reproduction.

The Manuel Velasco Suarez Award in Bioethics promotes bioethics, an emerging discipline in Latin America, by offering a grant to young scholars so they can develop their capacities for bioethical analysis. Dr. Velasco Suarez was a progressive and visionary thinker recognized worldwide for his achievements in bioethics and neuroscience. His creative and open-minded approach was embodied in his work as a founding member of the Organization of Physicians against Nuclear War, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985. This award is one of five awards of the Awards for Excellence in Inter-American Public Health Program, a partnership between PAHEF and PAHO.

Download Dr. Jorge Alvarez Diaz's speech (pdf)

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