The first meeting between the Director of BIREME, Dr. Diego González, and the new PAHO/WHO Representative in Brazil, Dr. Socorro Gross, took place on January 7, in Brasilia. Dr. Gross initiated her work in the country on December 21, 2018, succeeding Dr. Joaquín Molina. Dr. Janine Coutinho, Knowledge Management Consultant for the Representation, also participated in the meeting.
Dr. Socorro Gross opened the meeting by manifesting the importance of BIREME’s work with the country’s counterparts and in strengthening the information and knowledge management component in the PAHO Representation in the country.
Dr. González presented the following topics:
- BIREME’s current composition and the Center’s new premises.
- A few important achievements from 2018: (i) Governance Committee Meetings: the VII Session of the Advisory Committee in November 2018 and the IV Session of the Scientific Committee in December 2018; (ii) the visit from Dr. Jarbas Barbosa, Joint Director of the Organization, in August 2018; (iii) the visit from Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, PAHO/WHO Director, in December 2018, to get acquainted with BIREME, participate in the Meeting of the Scientific Committee and inaugurate the X Regional Congress on Health Sciences Information (CRICS10) and the 7th Regional Meeting of the Virtual Health Library (VHL7).
- Subsequently, the topic approached was BIREME’s Biannual Work Plan 2018-19, which is organized into four initiatives, 36 products and services and 2016 activities and tasks. The importance of networking with the 457 Cooperating Centers in Brazil, institutions that contribute to strengthen scientific and technical information in the country, was emphasized.
- BIREME’s role in the different cooperation terms (CT) between PAHO and the Ministry of Health and in decentralized CTs with State and Municipal Secretariats was also highlighted. A few examples are: CT93 (aimed at strengthening and improving BIREME, the term recognizes BIREME as a PAHO/WHO Specialized Regional Center); CT95 AT6 (aimed at improving the management of the Executive Secretariat of the Brazilian Ministry of Health, in which BIREME contributes with methodology and with the development of the Virtual Health Library in Brazil, thus strengthening its network and actions in order to give visibility to Brazilian scientific production); CT60 (support for the Conselho Nacional de Secretários da Saúde – National Council for Health Secretaries – CONASS – in order to strengthen state management of the Sistema Único de Saúde – Unified Health System – SUS); CT80 (promoting access to Primary Health Care for the Brazilian population); CT87 (Healthy and Sustainable Territories through Environmental Health actions, within the framework of which BIREME develops projects with the Fundação Nacional de Saúde – National Health Foundation – FUNASA); CT98 (oriented towards working with the National Policies on Primary Health though the Family Health Strategy, the National Policy on Food and Nutrition and other policies and programs aimed towards universal health access and coverage. BIREME develops actions such as the Academic Consortium for Integrative Health within the framework of this CT).
- Moreover, BIREME integrated projects with PAHO/WHO in order to give visibility to scientific production on human resources in health, as well as to support the PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center Network.
According to Dr. González, “the meeting was very efficient and constituted an opportunity to inform the Representative on the results achieved by the Center with the support of PAHO Brazil and its cooperation terms with the Ministry of Health. Furthermore, it created a moment for reflecting on how to strengthen partnerships with the country’s Municipal, State and Federal Governments and plan contact with the authorities of the new government of Brazil, among many other joint actions for working for information and knowledge management in the country”.
In Dr. Gross’s words, “our Knowledge Management Strategy aims to identify, promote and strengthen a set of practices and tools for the creation, systematization and sharing of knowledge for Technical Cooperation. The Knowledge Management activities are a motor for reaching Universal Health through the Cooperation Terms”.
About Dr. Socorro Gross
Dr. Gross Galiano, a national of Costa Rica, received her degree in medicine and surgery from the University of Costa Rica in 1982. In 1989, she obtained a master’s degree in epidemiology from the University of Texas, School of Public Health. From 1986 to 1989, she worked on several research projects and held the post of Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Texas.
Dr. Gross Galiano began her collaboration with PAHO in 1989 as a short-term consultant in Washington, D.C. From 1989 to 1991, she was Chief of the Adult Health Section, Department of Preventive Medicine, Technical Directorate of Health Services in San José, Costa Rica. At the same time, she was a Professor of Epidemiology in the Public Health Department of the University of Costa Rica Medical School. From 1991 to 1992, she worked as Coordinator of the Basic Technical Group at the Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama in San José, Costa Rica. In 1993, she resumed the position of Chief of the Adult Health Section, Department of Preventive Medicine, Technical Directorate of Health Services. She returned to PAHO in 1994 as an Advisor in Health Promotion in Colombia. She was appointed PAHO/WHO Representative in the Dominican Republic (1997), and then in Nicaragua (2005).
From 2008 to 2013, Dr. Gross served as Assistant Director (AD) of the Organization. After her tenure as AD, she returned to Nicaragua as the PAHO/WHO Representative, a post that she occupied until the date of this appointment.