Date: 2012-04-04
Time: 13.30
Place: CHESS library, Sveaplan, 5th floor

“Brazil: health in a country in transition viewed through the lens of academic epidemiology

In the past few decades, important and rapid economic and social changes are happening in Brazil, with important effects on health and on health research. This presentation aims to give an account of this process viewed from the academic epidemiology perspective. In Brazil, epidemiology is an active academic discipline strongly linked with the so-called “Collective Health” movement. By adopting Collective Health as reference, the social and political sense of epidemiology has been amplified to share the utopias and principles of humanism, and the aspirations to justice that have guided public health throughout the ages. Epidemiology and Collective Health are giving important contributions to understanding the health determinants and give evidences and rationality to the engineering and the building up of the Unified Health System. From my own research I take some highlights to show the efforts of the Brazilian epidemiologists to understanding the implications of these changes in health and towards contributing to improve population's health. These efforts are making the Brazilian epidemiology local based, but at the same time connected with the universal aims of the discipline and its high methodological standards. The final result is a process “full of science, but also with sense of justice and with passion, certainly, never a neutral and purely technical undertaking”.

Mauricio Barreto is Professor of Public Health Epidemiology at the Institute of Collective Health, Federal University of Bahia, Brazil. He is currently on a research Fellowship at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Professor Barreto’s research interests include the study of macro and micro determinants of infections, infectious diseases, nutritional deficiencies and the evaluation of technologies and programs for controlling infectious diseases and nutritional deficiencies in human populations with special emphasis on childhood. Another recent area of interest has been genetic epidemiology focused on genetics of severe dengue and more recently a genome-wide association study involving three Brazilian cohorts. He has published over 280 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals and has participated in several health policies and scientific advisory boards at national and international agencies. He was also the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health from 2008-2011.