USF Health partnered with the Panama Canal Authority and the Gorgas Memorial Institute of Health to organize a historic forum commemorating the one-hundredth anniversary of the construction of the Panama Canal.
The May 29 convention brought together a distinguished group of international scholars and attracted more than 250 participants. It included authorities from the USF College of Public Health, Panamanian Ministry of Health, the Panama Canal Authority, the Pan-American Health Organization, City of Knowledge, former ministers of health, directors of Panamanian hospitals and the Social Security Administration, and leaders from local and regional universities.
The forum opened with welcoming remarks from the administrator of the Panama Canal Authority, Mr. Jorge Quijano. It continued with recognized historian Dr. John McNeil from Georgetown University, who showed the importance public health measures had in the eradication of yellow fever, allowing construction of the Canal.
Dr. Julio Frenk, dean of the Harvard School of Public Health and former minister of health in Mexico, gave a presentation focused on the need for a “global health revolution” and to “inform in order to reform and not deform” the health system.
Dr. Jorge Motta, associate researcher of the Gorgas Memorial Institute and president of the Panamanian Association for the Advancement of Science, focused on current health indicators and trends in Panama. Motta emphasized that “without health, the Panama Canal would have not been built, and without health, we cannot build the country we much desire to have.”