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Second Brazilian to head the PAHO

OPASBrazilian physician Jarbas Barbosa da Silva Júnior took over as director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) on January 31 for a five-year term. In his inaugural address at the institution’s headquarters in Washington, DC, he said that “strong, resilient health systems that can perform all the essential public health functions adequately and lead multisectoral actions on the social, economic, and environmental determinants of health” are needed to respond to the challenges of epidemics and diseases in the Americas. Barbosa earned his degree from the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE) and has a graduate diploma in public health from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (FIOCRUZ). He previously served as Pernambuco’s health secretary. He joined PAHO in 2007 and Brazil’s Ministry of Health in 2011. He was president of the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (ANVISA) before becoming assistant director of PAHO in 2018. The only other Brazilian to have headed the organization was physician Carlyle Guerra de Macedo, who also graduated from UFPE and served as PAHO director from 1983 to 1995.