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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.


Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)

PAHO is an international public health agency with more than 100 years of experience working to improve health and living standards in the Americas. PAHO serves as the specialized organization for health of the Inter-American System. It also serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization and enjoys international recognition as part of the United Nations system.

PAHO project-specific activities include:

  • the development and dissemination of project-specific content;
  • Young Professional (YPs) training;
  • organization of regional workshops/events;
  • the production of academic papers.

For inquiries related to PAHO-specifc activities, please contact Marcelo D'Agostino at


People, Health equity and Innovation (Phi) Research Group, University of Toronto

Phi is a multidisciplinary research group working to explore how information and communication technologies (ICTs) can help leveling the playing field for marginalized and disenfranchised population groups.

Phi develops and implements collaborative, applied research activities in three main areas: international health & wellbeing/multicultural health; youth health/youth leadership development; and complex chronic diseases. Phi is housed at the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, University Health Network, Toronto.

University of Toronto project-specific activities include:

  • the development and technical maintenance of the project platform; 
  • the Innovation Competition; 
  • organization of a final event;
  • overall project evaluation; 
  • the production of academic papers. 

For inquiries related to University of Toronto-specifc activitis, please contact Dr. Alex Jadad at


Principal Investigators

Alex Jadad

Alex is a physician, innovator, educator and public advocate whose mission is to optimize health and wellness for all, through the innovative use of information and communication technologies. He holds the Canada Research Chair in eHealth Innovation at the University of Toronto and the University Health Network, where he is the Founder of the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation. He is also a Professor in the Department of Anesthesia, in the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, and in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. His research and innovation work focuses on virtual tools to support the encounter between the public and the health system (with emphasis on the management of polypathologies); interactive tools to promote knowledge translation and mentorship of health professionals and the public; and online resources to support social networks, to respond to major public health threats (e.g., chronic conditions, pandemics), to support international collaboration, and to enable the public (particularly young people) to shape the health system and society.

With regards to eSAC, Alex:

  • contributed to the conceptualization and design of the project;
  • is responsible for the overall scientific soundness of the project, with respect to the activities for which the University of Toronto is accountable;
  • promotes and facilitates links between the project and the academic network of which the University of Toronto is a member.
Marcelo D'Agostino

Marcelo is a Systems Analyst from the University of Belgrano, Argentina and holds a Master in Direction of Information and Knowledge Management from the Universidad Abierta of Catalonia, Spain. He started working at PAHO/WHO in 1987 as a programmer, at the Pan American Center for Zoonosis. In 1991, he became a consultant in the field of information systems at the Pan American Center for Foot-and-Mouth Disease. In 1992, he joined the American Institute for Food Protection and Zoonosis (INPPAZ) as Analyst Programmer and in 2002 became head of the Department of Information Technology. In 2002, he also began working at BIREME (PAHO/WHO) where he served as Coordinator of the Technical Cooperation Agreement between the Pan American Center for Foot-and-Mouth Disease and the National Health Surveillance Agency of Brazil (ANVISA). In 2005, Marcelo became project manager of marketing and innovation and also assumed the position of Regional Advisor in Information Dissemination in the Information and Knowledge Management area, responsible for the PAHO/WHO website, Intranet, Social Networks and Central Library. In 2008, he became Senior Advisor for Knowledge Management and in 2010 was selected as Director of Knowledge Management and Communications at PAHO with the responsibility of leading groups of scientific and editorial services, eHealth and translations. In August 2010, Marcelo became Chief of Knowledge Management and Communications, which includes the general supervision of Knowledge Management and Organizational Learning, Public Information, Media Relations, Library and Information Networks, eHealth, Social Networks, Editorial services, Institutional Branding and the Latin American Center for Health Science and Information (BIREME). He is also the Deputy Editor of the "Revista de Medicina y Seguridad del Trabajo" at the Institute de Salud Carlos III in Spain.

With regards to eSAC, Marcelo: 

  • contributed to the conceptualization and design of the project; 
  • is responsible for the overall scientific soundness of the project with respect to the activities for which PAHO is accountable; 
  • promotes and facilitates links between the project and the policy and technical networks of which PAHO is a member.

Project Co-Directors

Gladys Faba

Dr. Gladys Faba Beaumont holds a PhD in Sociology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). For 18 years, she was the Director of The National Information Center for Decision Making in Health at the National Institute of Public Health where she designed and developed training programs for systematic review protocols and evidence-based decision-making research. She also was the Editor Manager for the Journal of Public Health of México and the Bulletin "Effective Medical Practice," the first evidence-based primary health care practice journal in México. Currently, Gladys works as a part-time researcher at the National Institute of Public Health and an International Consultant at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). She is responsible for eSAC's Professional Development Program.

With regards to eSAC, Gladys:

  • provides strategic direction to the PAHO arm of the project;
  • oversees the PAHO project team;
  • oversees the design and implementation of the project professional development program (PDP).
Andrea Cortinois

Andrea has worked for 25 years as a journalist, researcher, teacher, and manager of health-related interventions on four continents, mainly in low-income countries. Over the past several years, Andrea has participated in research projects focusing on the application of new information and communication technologies to reach marginalized population groups and improve health equity. He is an Assistant Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, and teaches courses in international health and in migration and health.

With regards to eSAC, Andrea:

  • contributed to the conceptualization of the project;
  • provides strategic direction to the University of Toronto arm of the project; 
  • oversees the University of Toronto project team.

Young Professionals (YPs)

Nasim Farach

Nasim earned a BA in Marketing from Universidad Tecnológica Centroamericana and a MA in International Affairs and Development Communications from Ohio University through a Fulbright Scholarship. He has experience in health communications, qualitative methods and monitoring and evaluation, with a focus on HIV interventions. He has participated in health studies in Honduras, Panama, Guatemala and Tanzania. Nasim is the YP responsible for Central America. You can follow his activities at:

With regards to eSAC, Nasim:

  • contributes to the project knowledge management activities;
  • contributes to the development of original project-related content;
  • contributes to the project professional development program.
Felipe Mejia

Felipe holds a degree in Chemical Engineering from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia and a MSc in International Health from Heidelberg University, Germany, through a KAAD scholarship. He has professional experience in health technology assessment and surveillance as well as in the impact of tourism on public health, through research in Colombia and Costa Rica with various public-private partnerships. Felipe is the YP responsible for the Andean Region. You can follow his activities at:

With regards to eSAC, Felipe:

  • contributes to the project knowledge management activities;
  • contributes to the development of original project-related content;
  • contributes to the project professional development program.
Soroya Julian

Soroya holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Media and Communications and a Master of Science degree in Public Health, with emphasis on Health Promotion. Some of her skills include strategic communication planning, social marketing, material development, campaign planning and implementation, event planning, media relations and advocacy. She has worked in health communication with various target audiences across Jamaica and the wider Caribbean, including those most vulnerable and marginalized. Soroya is the YP responsible for the Caribbean.

You can follow her activities at:

With regards to eSAC, Soroya:

  • contributes to the project knowledge management activities;
  • contributes to the development of original project-related content;
  • contributes to the project professional development program.

Consultant On Health Inequalities

Baltica Cabieses

Baltica Cabieses is a Chilean nurse-midwife with over 10 years of experience in applied health research in low- and middle-income countries, with a specific focus on Latin America. She holds a Master of Science in Epidemiology, a PhD in health sciences (social epidemiology) and a certificate in health education. She is a lecturer at the Universidad del Desarrollo in Chile and a visiting scholar at the University of York. She also collaborates with the Bradford Institute for health research in England. She has strong research experience in health inequalities and her current areas of research are socioeconomic inequity in health, migration and health, and global public health. Baltica provides methodological and research support to the eSAC team.

With regards to eSAC, Baltica:

  • provides methodological support to the YPs in the process of developing original project-related content;
  • supports the project professional development program.

Project Administrator And Knowledge Management Associate

Stéfanie Fréel

Stéfanie holds an Honours Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master in Global Affairs from the University of Toronto. She has worked across the public, private and not-for-profit sector, both in Canada and internationally, and has experience in global health and international development with a specific focus on (global) mental health research and policy. Stéfanie coordinates administrative, logistical and knowledge management processes at eSAC.

With regards to eSAC, Stéfanie:

  • supports the project knowledge management activities;
  • supports the development of original project-related content;
  • is responsible for the technical aspects of the project online platform; - administrates the University of Toronto arm of the project.


For additional information on eSAC write to:

To follow the project activities go to:

Facebook: ESAC Project


Twitter: @eSACproject


If you are a member of the media, and need to reach our Media Relations team, please write to:

#eSAC Tweetchat. Feb 28th: Communities of Practice and eHealth. 7pmCol 7pmWDC 9pmChile 6pmMéxicoDF

1. What is a Tweetchat?
A Tweetchat is a written communication between two or more people. It is done through internet by sending Tweets and by using a specified #hashtag on different platforms such Tweedeck or Hootsuite. By these platforms it is easier to monitor one ongoing tweetchat and be part of it.

2. What is the tweetchat #eSAC about?
The topics discussed over the chat are related to eHealth. Public eHealth and ICT for Social Determinants of Health

3. How is the Tweetchat #eSAC done?
It lasts 1 hour in two languages at the same time: English and Spanish.

Innovation Competition

Public eHealth Innovation and Equity in Latin America and the Caribbean (eSAC)


Call for Concept Notes:
Equity-Oriented, ICT-based Public Health Solutions in Latin America and the Caribbean

The deadline for submission has been extended until January 11, 2013 at 5:00 PM EST