We value important contributions.That is why IHCAI is happy to include the following great people as honorary members.
Hugo Behm Rosas MD
IHCAI’s BI-ANNUAL AWARD was named after Dr. Rosas for his contribution to the reduction of Infant Mortality in Latin America.
Dr. Rosas was a Chilean public health specialist who sought refuge in Costa Rica from the persecution suffered by many under the military dictatorship in Chile in 1973. He worked with various international organizations including the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and Pan American Health Organization. In his strategic participation in the publication “Child mortality in developing countries” of the United Nations (1991), he developed the chapter on analytical framework. In 1992 CELADE (the Population Division of ECLAC), he published “The social inequalities facing death in Latin America” with the collaboration of Government of the Netherlands (Netherlands Organisation for International Cooperation in Higher Education, NUFFIC). His invaluable and untiring contribution as a pioneer in scientific analysis and explanation helped delineate important demographic and health events in the determinants of deep inequalities, especially in terms of infant mortality.
San José de Costa Rica. 2011.
Merton Bernfield MD
Merton Bernfield, MD, was a leading cell biologist whose research lead to the discovery of syndecans – molecules that control or influence tissue repair, energy metabolism, tumorigenesis, and immune response development. He also was the Clement A. Smith Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard in Boston, and before that he spent 22 years as a professor for Human Biology and Pediatrics at Stanford University in California. He was director of the Joint Program in Neonatology, the unit responsible for the care, education, and research of newborns at Children’s, Brigham and Women’s, and Beth Israel Deaconess until its dissolution in 1998.
His many honors included Guggenheim and Macy fellowships and distinguished lectureships like the Swedish Zetterstrom Lecture and the Wellcome Visiting Professorship in the Basic Medical Sciences. Bernfield was a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the American Association of Physicians.
Merton Bernfield died on March 18th 2002 of complications from Parkinson’s disease and he is survived by his wife Audrey, who is the director of the Office of Enrichment Programs at Harvard Medical School, and by their three children.
We at the IHCAI Foundation are deeply sorry for the loss of one of our dear friend and for the loss of a prominent scientist. Merton Bernfield MD and his wife Audrey have been our allies, partners, and friends in our aspiration to provide better opportunities for a education and enhanced research skills to young professionals in Costa Rica and Central America. They supported us and gave us positive feedback on our proposals, and we had a strong agreement to put an affirmative action for our countries into place. Our efforts have been oriented towards improving sciences and to open the doors to health and medical education. A great accomplishment of our work was shown when the IHMEC conference was held in San Jose, Costa Rica, in 1998 and its opening statement was ‘Open the doors for health and medical education’
We shared many wonderful times together, talking about sciences and development of the sciences in the Third World. We talked about ideas and projects that we would like to work on in the future, some of them will never be possible to realize, however they will be in our memories forever. These dreams will keep inspiring our work and the mission of the IHCAI Foundation.
Merton leaves us too soon. He was a young man who suddenly felt ill. We met for the last time in November last year at his house in Boston. It was a sad to see such a brilliant man suffering from the effects of the disease. However, he was just as happy as I was to meet again, and unfortunately it was to be our last time together. As it happens very often at that moment I wanted very much to find a healing power for my friend. Merton Bernfield enjoyed Costa Rica and we had the privilege to have him and his wonderful family visit us.
I want to express my personal sympathy to Audrey, her family, colleagues, and friends at Harvard Medical School and in the International community who had the chance to get to know Dr. Bernfield and to share his knowledge and wisdom. This message also includes the sympathy of the entire IHCAI Foundation staff and directors and all of Merton’s and Audrey’s friends in Costa Rica and in all our offices in Central America.
To honor the memory of Merton Bernfield the IHCAI Foundation has established the Annual Merton Bernfield MD. Lecture. It is to be held in San José, Costa Rica for the first time on May 15th, 2003 and will continue to be held every year on the second Thursday in May.
The board of directors of the IHCAI Foundation will select the first lecturer from the international scientific community one year ahead of time. It has created the Merton Bernfield MD Lecture Fund to cover the expenses, to provide the necessary resources to carry out the lecture, and to assure its continuity. The topic of the lecture will be on an issue of health related to the development of the basic medical sciences.
I would like to express again my deepest regrets and sympathy to Audrey and her family.
San José de Costa Rica. 2002.