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Until recently, most European, North American and Australasian epidemiologists knew Latin America as a region of the world that produced both great football teams and hazardous military dictatorships (although the North Americans may not have known much about the football teams). In addition, it was a region that we had to fly over the top of in order to meet each other in New York, London or Sydney. Few “Western” epidemiologists have been aware of the developments in epidemiology in Latin America in the last two decades, which have paralleled the return of democracy across the continent.
This situation is hopefully about to change with the staging of the XVIIIth International Epidemiological Association World Congress of Epidemiology in Porto Alegre, Brazil. This is only the third time that the Congress has been held in Latin America (after Cali, Colombia, in 1959 and San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1977) and only the second time in the Southern hemisphere (after Sydney, Australia, in 1993). For many epidemiologists from outside Latin America, it will be a chance to …
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