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About the eSAC Project

About the eSAC Project

The Public eHealth Innovation and Equity in Latin America and the Caribbean (eSAC) project aims to contribute to the improvement of the health and well-being of marginalized population groups in the region, and to advance health equity, through the development and application of information and communication technology (ICT)-based solutions in public health.

eSAC strives to 'push the envelope' by stimulating researchers, policy makers, practitioners, entrepreneurs, innovators, the media, and the general public to think beyond traditional eHealth solutions with an individual-level focus, by exploring the use of ICTs in public health and to impact the social determinants of health.

The project is funded by the Ottawa-based International Development Research Centre (IDRC) ( and jointly designed and implemented by the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) (, Washington DC, and the People, Health Equity and Innovation (Phi) Research Group ( at the University of Toronto, Toronto.

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Tools and Resources

Database of Resources: Highlighted on the front page and updated regularly, the eSAC Resource Database is a staff reviewed database of projects, organizations, publications and links to people who are working on areas of relevance to eSAC. Search it. Use it. Help us share the work of others in the region!

Online Forums and Groups: Explore our online discussions in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Hold conversations in the form of posted messages and build your online presence and reputation by asking and answering questions whether in the forums or groups. These can be very useful when you are looking for a place to hold a conversation with people who share your interest in ICTs and Public Health.

Events: Maintained by our staff, we have information about upcoming events related to ICTs, Public Health and Equity in Health. Let us know if you would like us to add an event!

Private messages: Use this feature to contact individuals who share similar interests in a secure environment. This includes ALL of our team members!

Young Professionals

The fundamental engine behind the eSAC community is a group of five YPs who operate at the regional level, both individually and as a team, to catalyze the development of such community.

YPs are young (25-35 year old) and university-trained (masters or PhD degree) individuals from the LAC region with a proven record of practical interest in the areas related to eSAC, and who collectively, speak all major Western languages used in the region.

The call for YPs was launched in 2011 and received over 400 applications. Following a multi-step process that included a face-to-face workshop with the top 10 candidates, the best candidate from each of the five LAC sub-regions (Central, Caribbean, Andean, Brazil and South-Cone) were selected.

Innovation Competition

eSAC hopes to stimulate creativity and intellectual cooperation in the Region by promoting the development and sharing of highly innovative, effective, pleasantly ingenious and simple Public eHealth solutions with the potential to promote equity in health.

The Innovation Competition has been launched and we are excited about identifying individuals or groups who are working towards the advance of Public eHealth.

Learn more :


What does eSAC stand for?

eSAC makes reference to “eHealth in Latin America and the Caribbean” in Spanish. Originally, the project had a broader focus, but later on it focused specifically on Public Health, equity and innovation. Nonetheless, we decided to keep the term “eSAC” for historical reasons and because it allowed to use one term across the three official languages of the project.

eSAC’s web site

We envision this site as a regional and virtual community that nurtures and supports communication, knowledge management and capacity building activities across the intersection between Public eHealth and equity in health in the LAC region.

Our web site will be used to: disseminate information on the project; include links to external resources related to Public eHealth and equity in health; present training materials developed in the context of the proposed initiative; and exchange ideas and opportunities related to specific public health challenges and the role of iCTs in the region.

Some important definitions

Public eHealth: Information and Communication Technologies-based (ICT-based) applications related to all different aspects of public health and other disciplines that are strictly related to public health, including epidemiological surveillance, health promotion, disease prevention, environmental health, social epidemiology, behavioural health, occupational health, human resources training, research and development activities.

eHealth: is an emerging field in the intersection of medical informatics, public health and business, referring to health services and information delivered or enhanced through the Internet and related technologies. In a broader sense, the term characterizes not only a technical development, but also a state-of-mind, a way of thinking, an attitude, and a commitment for networked, global thinking, to improve health care locally, regionally, and worldwide by using information and communication technology (Eysenbach, G. (2001) ‘What is e-Health?’ Journal of Medical Internet Research; 3; 2: e20).

Equity: the absence of systematic disparities in health (or in the major social determinants of health) between groups with different levels of underlying social advantage/disadvantage - that is, wealth, power, or prestige (Braveman, P.; Gruskin, S. (2003) 'Defining equity in health.' Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health; 57; 4: 254-8.).

Innovation: the process of transforming or translating the knowledge produced through research, as well as other types of knowledge, into social value.