Dr. Marcos Espinal is the Director of the PAHO/WHO Department of Communicable Diseases and Health Analysis (CDH). This unit gathers four sub-departments that deal with the following topics: neglected diseases, diseases transmitted by vectors, sexually transmitted diseases, hepatitis and HIV, climate change and social determinants of health, and the Special Program Resistance to Antimicrobials, as well as the Pan American Center for Foot and Mouth Disease (PANAFTOSA), located in Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil. From May 12 to 18, Dr. Espinal held an official visit in Brazil, which included the cities of Rio de Janeiro, where he carried out a supervising visit in PANAFTOSA; São Paulo, where he visited, along with Dr. Ottorino Cosivi and Dr Diego González the Instituto Butantan and BIREME; and Brasília, where he met with Dr. Socorro Gross, PAHO Representative in the country, as well as with authorities from the Ministry of Health.
Although BIREME has collaborated with the CDE in many projects, such as the self-learning course on neglected diseases and projects in the field of Social Determinants of Health, it was the first time that Dr. Espinal visited the Center. In his own words directed to the Center’s employees, he emphasized that “Information is power”, which is why he considers to be very important to unite the efforts of the specialized Center on scientific and technical health information to the department he directs.
After visiting the Center’s facilities and being informed on the work of the managements that compose it, a presentation was coordinated by Dr. Diego González and the managers in order to elucidate a few of BIREME’s products and services that particularly interested Dr. Espinal and Dr. Cosivi.
- Knowledge Showcases on topics yet to be defined;
- eBlueInfo and VHL Infobutton;
- Face-to-face, sub-regional courses on Scholarly Communication.
After a brief discussion and having answered a few questions, it was agreed upon that BIREME will submit a project proposal to the CDE Department, including the topics stated above and others that may be included in mutual agreement.
“I am looking forward to the perspective of working with BIREME, for there are many topics we can explore for a mutual benefit”, stated Dr. Espinal.
For Dr. González, Director of BIREME, “Dr. Espinal’s visit is strategic and opens many opportunities for interprogramatic work between the Department of Evidence and Intelligence for Action in Health (EIH), which BIREME is a part of, and the Department of Communicable Diseases and Health Analysis (CDH). We are certain to strengthen the cooperation between the departments and develop information products that will be of interest for the Region”.
 Born in the Dominican Republic, Dr. Espinal is an Epidemiologist Doctor by the Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo. He has Master and Doctorate degrees in Public Health by the University of California in Berkeley, USA. His work experience includes, among others, the Department of Public Health of the City of New York and the World Health Organization, where he worked as Executive Secretary of the Tuberculosis Control Program (Stop TB). The Director has published over 100 scientific articles in specialized journals and has received many awards for his work in the fight against Tuberculosis and in international public health. More details on his career are available on this link.