Minister of Health of El Salvador Dr. María Isabel Rodríguez, who served as the program’s first coordinator, said it had contributed “not only to the enrichment and reorientation of young health professionals in the region but also to the generation of new knowledge in international health and particularly to the deepening of one of its fundamental practices: technical cooperation in health.”
PAHO Director Dr. Roses said, “Its contributions to the development of a conceptual model for international health, the design and implementation of educational modules, the continuing education of its participants, and project execution in the countries have been invaluable.”
She noted that many of the program’s graduates are today working in leadership positions in the Region’s ministries of health, other agencies, and in PAHO/WHO itself.
Dr. Rodríguez recalled the initiative’s launching in 1985 as part of efforts to advance the goal of “Health for All” through training and education for young health professionals from Latin America and the Caribbean. Since then, the program has trained more than 300 young health professionals from 35 countries of the Region.
Under different names, the program has evolved from a residential training program to, since 2008, a decentralized program carried out through the Virtual Campus of Public Health with the participation of PAHO/WHO country offices and technical units, health officials from the participants’ countries, and a network of more than 20 academic and research institutions.
Dr. Roses noted that the program’s more recent achievements include training the coordinators of Cuban Medical Brigades to serve in PAHO priority countries, increasing the participation of young professionals from English-speaking Caribbean countries, and offering current PAHO technical staff opportunities for continuing education.
At the close of the ceremony, Dr. Roses presented Dr. Rodríguez with a special commemorative plaque.