Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (FIOCRUZ), founded in 1900 and modeled after the Pasteur Institute, FIOCRUZ is a central agency of the Ministry of Health of Brazil. FIOCRUZ performs biomedical and public health research and serves as a major training center for Brazilian scientists and a principal source of knowledge for policy setting by the government in the areas of health and the environment.
The involvement of FIOCRUZ scientists in public health and policy issues has earned FIOCRUZ investigators credibility in the public eye and prestige in the national and international scientific community. According to the U.S. Institute for Scientific Information (SIS), FIOCRUZ investigators are among the most frequently cited research scientists internationally. In the area of education, FIOCRUZ is the principal non-university institution in Brazil responsible for developing human resources in the health field. It has trained nearly 15,000 professionals, who are contributing to the improvement of health services in the country and abroad. At present, more than 1,300 students are enrolled in its graduate-level courses every year and conduct medical and scientific research throughout the nation.
The Mount Sinai / Queen College program works directly with FIOCRUZ’s Center for Environmental Health Reseach (CESTEH), the organism that engages in studies on environmental and occupational health. CESTEH has 30 scientists and 70 additional support staff. It has close relationships with two major Brazilian universities. The CESTEH’s director, Josino Moreira, Ph.D., is also the program coordinator for the Mounti Sinai / Queens College – FIOCRUZ collaboration. Dr. Moreira is also the coordinator of all national and international activities in environmental health for all FIOCRUZ campuses. His directorship will facilitate a national role for activities undertaken as part of the Mounti Sinai / Queens College – FIOCRUZ collaboration.
Since 1995, the Mount Sinai/Queens College-FIOCRUZ collaboration has supported the academic enrichment of eight Brazilian scientists and hosted various conferences and courses on environmental and occupational health.
The Mount Sinai / Queen Program in Environmental and Occupational Health has two major collaborators in Chile: the Ministry of Health of Chile, and the Chilean Security Association (Asociación Chilena de Seguridad – ACHS). Representing the public and private sectors, respectively, both agencies present outstanding and highly complementary opportunities for intervention and prevention research. Both institutions are linked through cooperative agreements with the University of Chile, thus, bringing in the academic sector into the umbrella of Fogarty-related activities.
The Ministry of Health of Chile has a longstanding tradition of public health research in addition to supporting a primary health care system for a large portion of the Chilean people. In the area of environmental health, the Ministry supports research, develops standards, issues regulation, and conducts surveillance activities. Interestingly, unlike in the U.S., the Ministry also has significant enforcement powers in environmental and occupational health, which are shared with the Ministry of Labor. The Ministry of Health has environmental and occupational health offices in all 29 of its regional services throughout Chile. Each of these regional offices has a physician and at least 1 engineer/industrial hygienist dedicated to environmental and occupational health.
Elisa Leon Carrasco, M.D., M.P.H., acts as the Program coordinator of the Mount Sinai/Queens College – Ministry of Health Collaboration. She directs the Division of Occupational Health within the Department of Environmental Health of the Ministry of Health in Santiago, Chile. Dr. Leon Carrasco has been a Selikoff Scholar since 1999. She shares direction of the occupational and environmental health professional staff in the central office in Santiago and in 29 regional office of the Ministry of Health.
The second major collaborator is the Chilean Security Association (Asociación Chilean de Seguridad, ACHS). The Chilean Security Association is the largest of three private, non-profit occupational health care organization that provide primary health and occupational health care to two-thirds of the formal Chilean working population and their families. By law, private employers in Chile must buy comprehensive health care from one of these institutions, known as “mutuales”. The mutuales provide primary and specialty health care; occupational health services; industrial hygiene and safety; and workers’ compensation to employees through contracts with the employers, This unique system ties treatment and compensation with preventive services in a structure that rewards prevention of disease and injury.. ACHS is the largest mutual in Chile, providing services to 1.3 million Chilean workers in diverse industries. It has a large network of hospitals, clinics, and preventive services thrughout Chile. ACHS has a research institute in its organization as the focal point for 80 current research projects in its organization in collaboration with outside institutions.
Gustavo Contreras M.D., a former Selikoff Scholar, acts as the program coordinator for the Mt. Sinai/Queens College – ACHS collaboration. He is Chief of Preventive Medicine at ACHS and faculty member of the Division of Environmental and Occupational Health of the University of Chile School of Public Health. He is the liaison between this school and ACHS. Dr. Contreras’ research is on occupational lung disease. He is one of two NIOSH-certified B readers in Latin America.
The National Institute of Public Health (INSP) in Cuernavaca is the Mount Sinai / Queen Program in Environmental and Occupational Health collaborator in Mexico. The INSP is one of ten national health institutes within the federal government of Mexico. It was created in 1987 as the pre-eminent national center of research and teaching in public health for the country of Mexico. It houses the School of Public Health of Mexico, the oldest and largest public health school in Mexico, which pre-dates INSP, having been founded 1922. The School of Public Health is widely recognized as one of the finest in Latin America and offers a variety of doctoral and masters’ degrees. INSP has a full-time faculty of over 100 scientists and a total staff of 450. INSP sponsors an average of 60 research projects every year, generating more than 100 original papers, books and book chapters annually, on a wide variety of topics including malaria, tuberculosis, women and child mortality, viruses and cancer, sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS, vaccine development, health and nutrition, health policy and environmental and occupational health. INSP is divided into three centers, including the Center for Populations Health Research (CISP), where research and teaching in environmental and occupational health is centered. INSP is a WHO Collaborating Center in Environmental Health.
Mauricio Hernandez Avila, M.D., Ph.D., and Lizbeth López-Carrillo, Dr. P.H., act as the Mount Sinai/Queen College – National Institute of Public Health program coordinators. Dr. Hernandez is the Director of the Center for Population Health Research and a longtime , key supporter of environmental and occupational health training at the INSP. Dr. Lopez-Carrillo is an environmental and nutritional epidemiologist who is a former Selikoff scholar and the recipient of an Advanced Selikoff Scholarship.