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On November 3rd, 2011, within the context of the 10th International Conference on Urban Health (Belo Horizonte, Brazil), PAHO/WHO’s Area of Sustainable Development and Environmental Health will launch its Strategy and Plan of Action on Urban Health in the Americas. Dr. Carlos Santos-Burgoa and Ms. Marilyn Rice will speak in the session chaired by Dr. David Vlahov, and prestigious panelists will include Dr. Trevor Hancock, Dr. Jo Ivy Boufford and Dr. Fernando Proietti, at the 10th International Conference on Urban Health


PAHO/WHO Launch of its 10-Year Strategy and Plan of Action on Urban Health in the Americas

14:30-17:00 Local Time (12:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. EDT/16:30 - 19:00 GMT) November 3, 2011
Granada Auditorium, Minascentro Convention Center
Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Speakers: Dr. Carlos Santos-Burgoa, Ms. Marilyn Rice

Panelists: Dr. Trevor Hancock, Dr. Jo Ivy Boufford, Dr. Fernando Proietti



In 2008, for the first time in history, the United Nations reported that more than half the human population is living in urban areas, and this proportion is expected to rise to 70% by 2050. Latin America and the Caribbean are the most urbanized countries in the developing world, with 77% of their population already living in cities.

The vast urban expansion in developing countries has global implications. What happens in the cities of the less developed world in the coming years will shape prospects for economic growth, poverty alleviation, population stabilization, environmental sustainability and ultimately, the exercise of human rights worldwide (UNFPA, 2007). While urbanization offers significant opportunities to reduce poverty and gender inequality, and to promote sustainable development, managing urban environments sustainably and equitably is one of the greatest challenges for the next decades.  

In recognition of these trends and opportunities, the countries of the world, along with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) focused efforts on identifying potential policies, strategies and tools that would backstop countries in their forward planning on addressing urban health issues. In line with this, PAHO’s Member Countries approved a 10-year Strategy and Plan of Action on Urban Health for the Americas during its 51st Directing Council, held in September 2011.

About the Conference

The International Society for Urban Health (ISUH) sponsors an annual international conference, which is hosted by a selected institution. Each conference has a unique theme and creates a forum for dialogue on urban health.

The upcoming 10th International Conference on Urban Health will be will be hosted by Urban Health Observatory (UHO) at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), Belo Horizonte, Brazil: November 1–4, 2011.


The principal theme will focus on promoting urban health action to achieve health equity. Special emphasis will be placed on the urban context, metrics, and effective and recommended interventions. These topics and others will be explored by international plenary speakers and attendees throughout the duration of the conference.

The conference will address how institutions and governments can develop and implement interventions that improve health equity, based upon the urban health evidence. These issues will be examined in a multitude of sectors, such as climate change, air pollution, physical activity, health services, violence and human security, transportation and injury prevention, housing and infrastructure, neighborhoods and the urban environment, reproductive and maternal child health, the social determinants of health, substance use and vulnerable populations, among others.

The Conference Program

The conference will consist of plenary sessions, special plenaries, special sessions, and oral and poster presentations. Conference organizers are also arranging to hold several workshops in conjunction with community-based organizations, policymakers, and academics. For more information, please visit:


Dr. Carlos Santos-Burgoa is currently Senior Advisor on Violence, Injury and Human Security at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in Washington, DC, USA. His duties involve cooperation with member states in generating a policy for human security, and enhancing and complementing actions on violence and injury prevention. He foresees his work as advocating and strengthening the interventions on violence and injury prevention, the application of epidemiologic and health promotion principles including the monitoring and modification of risks for violence and injury prevention, and advocating for health and other sector policies, investments and organizational development at the local and national levels. 

His main responsibilities include policy definition and development on Human Security, as well as development and support for Injuries and Violence Prevention, epidemiology and health promotion capacity building strategies, fund raising.

A national of México, Dr Santos-Burgoa received a degree in medicine and surgery from the National Autonomous University of Mexico in 1979; a master’s degree in public health from Johns Hopkins University in 1982; and a doctorate degree in environmental and occupational epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University in 1988. His previous work experience includes academic positions in the University of Michigan, USA, as well as the National Institute of Public Health and the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He has held several Director General positions in the Ministry of Health of Mexico related to health promotion, equity and development, and environmental health. He is also the founder and Director General of the Work Environment and Health Institute.

Marilyn Rice is CEO of merci, Marilyn E Rice Consulting International, LLC, an international public health consulting firm. Until May of this year she was Senior Advisor in Health Promotion and Urban Health as well as Coordinator of the Urban Health and Determinants of Health Team for the Area of Sustainable Development and Environmental Health for the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO). She has over 40 years of experience working in a multi-cultural, multi-lingual environment, often playing the role of a facilitator to help ensure clear communication and collaborative efforts in developing and implementing initiatives. She has done extensive work to support systematic evaluation and documentation of health education and promotion experiences in countries throughout the world and she coordinated and oriented technical cooperation activities in the areas of health promotion, social determinants of health, urban health and development, community mobilization, and implementation of healthy public policies. She has worked for PAHO for 22 years and the Global Office of the World Health Organization (WHO) for 7. She has also held the position of Project Director of the National Resource Center for Prevention of Perinatal Abuse of Alcohol and Other Drugs and Branch Chief of the Perinatal Branch for the US Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (part of the US Department of Health and Human Services). She holds a degree in sociology and masters training in public health and health education. She currently serves as Regional Vice President of the North American Regional Office of the International Union for Health Promotion and Education and Chair of the International and Cross Cultural Community of Practice for the Society of Public Health Education.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 November 2011 11:36

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