BIREME Bulletin n° 73

João Paulo Souza is the new director of BIREME/PAHO/WHO

Epidemiologist and researcher Dr. João Paulo Souza is the new director of the Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information (BIREME/PAHO/WHO). The formal process of Transfer of Direction, according to the Organization’s methodology, took place on October 17 and 18, 2022, when Dr. Sebastián García Saisó – director of the Department of Evidence and Intelligence for Action in Health (EIH/PAHO) and interim director of BIREME since October 2021, transferred the Center to the new director.

The purpose of the Transfer of Direction is to inform the Director of PAHO/WHO, the Assistant Director, the Director of EIH, and the new Director about the current situation of BIREME’s political, technical, managerial, scientific, and administrative operations to provide the necessary conditions for the Director to be able to immediately start his functions and to lead the technical cooperation and management program of the Center. Later on the 19th, the EIH Director and the new Director made a trip to Brasília, where they attended meetings at the Ministry of Health, when they were received by the Undersecretary for Administrative Affairs, Mr. Romeu Mendes do Carmo, and the General Coordinator of Documentation and Information (CGDI/SAA/SE) Ms. Shirlei Rodrigues and Mrs. Monica Quiroga, Historian at CGDI/SAA/SE, who presented the Nanoarte Exhibition that was installed with the support of BIREME. Furthermore, at PAHO Brazil Office, they participated at meetings with the Representative, Dr. Socorro Gross, and her team. On both occasions, topics related to the institutional strengthening of BIREME were discussed.

BIREME team on the day of the Transfer of Direction. In the background, João Paulo Souza and to his left, Sebastián Garcia Saisó, Director of EIH/PAHO.

João Paulo Souza spoke to BIREME’s employees in person on October 20, when he outlined his management philosophy and enumerated his expectations to strengthen BIREME’s work, committing to give greater importance and visibility to the work developed by the Center, as well as to seek funding resources to make the current and future Work Plan viable. He also emphasized that he hopes to rely on everyone’s work and dedication on this journey.

About Dr João Paulo Souza

João Paulo Souza is a medical-social scientist whose main interest lies in the intersection between Social Epidemiology and the Translation of Scientific Knowledge in Health Policies and Practices. With a background in obstetrics & gynecology and critical care medicine (FMRP-USP), he carried out postgraduate studies aimed at developing the concept of maternal near-miss (UNICAMP). His doctoral thesis received the Capes Theses Award in 2009. Between 2002 and 2008, he worked as an intensive care physician and medical coordinator of the Adult Intensive Care Unit of the Center for Integral Attention to Women’s Health (UNICAMP). As of 2007, he gained international insertion, particularly as a consultant (2007-present) and physician at the World Health Organization (2008-2013, 2016-2017), where he developed studies and guidelines for the reduction of maternal mortality, including the theory of obstetric transition (evolution of eco-social determinants of maternal mortality). During the COVID-19 pandemic (2020-2021), he served as an intensivist and coordinator of the 4th  Intensive Care Center at Hospital das Clínicas de Ribeirão Preto, a unit dedicated to coping with COVID-19, in addition to integrating committees for the preparation of guidelines of the World Health Organization related to this condition. He became an Associate Professor at the University of São Paulo in 2014 and, in 2016, a Full Professor at the Department of Social Medicine at FMRP-USP. Between October 2019 and September 2022, he was the head of this department. He has published more than 200 scientific papers, works as a reviewer of articles, is a member of the editorial board of scientific journals and of advisory committees of funding agencies. He also advises master’s and Doctoral students in Public Health. Dr João Paulo assumes the direction of the Center with the mission of consolidating BIREME as “PAHO’s Evidence Center for Action in Health”.

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