An Enduring Legacy: A Tribute to Our Late Director, Dr. Dionisio Herrera

On December 4, 2018, the global field epidemiology community lost a visionary leader, nurturing mentor, fierce champion and generous friend. It is with unspeakable sadness that the TEPHINET Secretariat announces the passing of our director, Dr. Dionisio Jose Herrera Guibert.

Always with a ready smile, and always willing to listen and help, Dr. Herrera—or “Dio,” as he was affectionately known—was, to most of his colleagues, a friend first and a coworker second. His genuine interest in people gave him an almost magical ability to build connections and create opportunities with colleagues in more than a hundred countries regardless of culture or geographic distance. As we in the global health arena know, overcoming precisely these obstacles is one of the biggest challenges to achieving results in our field. The global enterprise of field epidemiology training programs benefited from having a leader in TEPHINET who was able to do this with relative ease. Dr. Herrera helped TEPHINET grow, but he also helped develop and/or expand regional FETP networks in Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the Eastern Mediterranean. Public health systems around the world are stronger because of his tireless efforts.

When Dr. Herrera took the helm of TEPHINET in March of 2009, our network consisted of 30 field epidemiology training programs working in the same number of countries. Today, our network comprises 71 programs serving more than 100 countries. Upon Dr. Herrera’s arrival, the TEPHINET Secretariat operated with four staff members; today, we have a team of 20. Overseeing all of this growth was a leader unmatched in his patience and compassion for others.

On October 30, 2018, The Task Force for Global Health honored Dr. Herrera with its inaugural Consequential Compassion Award for Extraordinary Achievement in Global Health in a ceremony held at its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. In attendance were members of his family, including his wife, children, and parents. Dr. Herrera often remarked that his family motivated his work. It is no wonder, then, that under his leadership, TEPHINET became more than a professional network; it became a family that worked together, and together we will continue his legacy.

Donate to the Dionisio Herrera family fund

If you would like to make a financial contribution to Dr. Herrera’s family, please visit https://www.taskforce.org/donate and select “Dr. Dionisio Herrera's Family Fund” from the dropdown menu under the heading, “Support The Task Force or one of our programs.”

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Photo Gallery

Video: The TEPHINET Family Congratulates Dr. Herrera

Dionisio Herrera was beloved by our FETP colleagues all over the world. The video below was created for and played during the ceremony for the Task Force Consequential Compassion Award. In it, colleagues from 30 programs congratulate Dionisio on receiving the honor.

Comments

The 4th of Dec 2018. The sad and painful loss of the remarkable THEPHINET Director' Dionisio Jose Herrera Guibert. God bless your soul.  Rest in piece. We will miss you Dionisio

What a great loss. Replacing him will be difficult. He was such a nice and hardworking director.

May his soul rest in peace

A great loss for TEPHNET and all FETP community. He was a kind and humble person. Our codolscence to his family and friends.

I will remember Dionisio for his kindness, professionalism, passion for our work, and big smile. I will miss him. My heartfelt condolences to his family and colleagues.  May he rest in peace.

Please send my sadness condolence to Dr. Diosinio Herrera's family from Cambodia AET officers.

RIP 

Our respects and tributes to the most friendly and active effect modifier of FETPs worldwide. His spirit and smile are still alive in FETPs that he cared and nurtured passionately. RIP Prof. Dionisio Herrera!

What a loss to the FETP family. Met him twice and he changed my perspective of public health. Rest in peace global icon

I got a chance to listen to Dr. Dio during the AFENET Conference in Nigeria. All has been written in this tribute and I won't add much. 

I just want to say, may his soul rest in Eternal Peace. 

I had the privilege of meeting Dr Herrera at the EIS Int Night in 2017 and had a one min elevator conversation with him. I was inspired in that min and he gave me the most amazing positive feedback that I will never forget and that constantly inspires me to do what i want to do!

Allow me to give my utmost deepest sympathies and condolences for the tragic loss of Dr. D. Herrera! May his pure soul rest in eternal peace. Me and my family will never forget his visit to us in Madaba in Jordan after my late mother Dr. Raja‘a Haddadin (former Jordan-FETP Director) passed away in November 2012, at that time the Global Tephinet Conference was held in Amman - Jordan. It is such a sad great loss of Dr. D. Herrera. 

Dr Dionisio, we will miss you dearly and I will miss you dearly for your leadership and ever accommodating stance even to up coming Epidemiologist like me. My few personal interactions with you I still cherish, and the picture of your smiles are edged-in clearly on my mind. God bless you for making yourself available to the epidemiology world. I will miss you greatly 

 You United us as team of professionals  and as Family, we respect your Legacy R.I.P  Deo.

May Dr Dionisio's soul rest in perfect peace. A great friend indeed

This is a terrible loss to the global health community. He was such a wonderful, positive, collaborative person that inspired many all over the world. RIP Dr. Dionisio. Your presence will be sorely missed

Our hearts are deeply saddened by the loss of Dr Dionisio Herrara, the Last Director, TEPHINET. 
It is a great sense of loss for "FETP community" around the world that was united and powered by Dr Dionisio in the last 10 years. 
Mongolian Field Epidemiology Training Programme has always been welcomed by Dr Dionisio at any opportunity.  
Large part of good repute of MFETP that had been built over past years amongst Global FETP community is because of Dr Dionisio, there is no doubt that you are part of MFETP history. 
E-mail communications in the past 6-7 years, personal meeting during TEPHINET scientific conferences and meetings, I have always felt you are as "very down to earth", kind and considerate person. Your sincere support and contribution to the development of Mongolian Field Epidemiology Training Programme will be remembered forever!
Rest in peace Dear Friend!

I met him for my graduation in haiti ( Frontline) 

May he rest in peace!!!

Courage to the family!

God bless!

As a friend and colleague of more than 40 years, the news is still unreal; but your legacy is the best memory that can be. Rest in peace dear brother. You are in our hearts forever

We are deeply saddened by the demise of a true friend, mentor, and great personality. Your endeavouring support to our program has enabled us reach a level that we can confidently say, we are ready for accreditation. You will truly by missed by the Uganda Public Health Fellowship Program aka Advanced FETP. Rest in Peace. Amen

 

May the gentle soul of a great friend, Leader and motivator rest in perfect peace Amen. Adieu great man.

 

Adieu great friend, leader and motivator, Dr. Dio .   May his soul rest in perfect peace Amen.

Para Candi y los chicos. Siempre recordaré a Dionisio como un gran líder, maestro y alegre caballero. Fuertes abrazos.

Una gran tristeza cubre hoy el mndo de la epidemiología. Descansa en paz Querido Amigo

I had the honor and privilege of working with Dionisio planning several FETP International Nights. He was such a kind, passionate individual. The global health field has lost a true legend. The impact of his work will live on for decades. He will be missed.

 

Had the honour of meeting him twice once when he visited Peshawar and secondly during the 9th global TEPHINET conference in Thailand. A very humble and dedicated individual. Had a lot of respect for FETP Pakistan. He will always be remembered in our hearts

Dionisio was a passionate leader and valued the relationships needed to forge a worldwide network.  It did not matter if he had just seen you yesterday or a year or two ago, he always greeted everyone with warmth and immediacy for the issue at hand.  God Speed, Dr Dionisio.  It was a pleasure and honor to have known you.

 

This is indeed a great loss to TEPHINET and the FETP family. May the legacy he left behind continue to live and flourish. May his soul rest in peace.

Dionisio was a real gentleman. Always willing to take the time out to talk to people, even when he was swamped. The first question would always be: how is your family....which shows that he was about family and friendships above all. He was a good man and I am very sad to lose him. 

Dear Dionisio, we will all sorely miss you! Your smile, your passion, your compassion, your big heart and your dancing skills.

RIP, Viviane (Robert Koch-Institut, Germany) 

The doctor Dionisio was such a professor, mentor, of these who never lose patience in instructing until he is convinced that what he has transmitted has germinated and has solidity and consistency, he was an unshakeable man in his convictions, that's why we have all appreciated, respected, and have loved him, and we have made him a perfect team mate in all the latitudes of our planet, where he had a chance to share his knowledge.

My deepest condolences to the family and the world of field epidemiology

I'm deeply saddened by the loss of my former boss, and mentor-  Dionisio; he  was more than a boss; he was a leader, a friend, and passionate advocate for global health. He leaves us with the beauty of having lived a well-lived life, and the inspiration to continuing working towards a better future. My thoughts and prayers are with Candy, his two beautiful children, parents, and friends!  

Had the honour of meeting him once when I presented a paper in EIS international conference at Atlanta, USA 2014. He was a very humble and dedicated and progressive individual. This is great loss to TEPHINET community and he will always be remembered in our hearts. RIP

Had the honour of meeting him once when I was presenting paper in EIS International night at Atlanta, USA conference in 2014. He was a very humble and dedicated individual. A great loss for TEPHINET and he will always be remembered in our hearts. RIP

I met Dionisio Herrera and Candi in 2002 when starting my applied epidemiology (PEAC) training in Madrid. Rest in peace Dionisio! All my love goes to Candi and the children. 

I met Dionisio Herrera and Candi in 2002 when starting my applied epidemiology (PEAC) training in Madrid. Rest in peace Dionisio! All my love goes to Candi and the children. 

Dear TEPHINET's Secretariat,

I would like to express, on behalf of the Cambodian Applied Epidemiology Training Family, our condolences on the loss of Dr. Dionisio Ferrera. I have worked with him for a number of years through various TEPHINET Conferences and Board of Directors Meetings. I highly appreciated his leadership and professionalism to enhance the supports to the FETP's network around the world. You will be missed.

Again, we extend our deepest sympathies to you and your family during this period of mourning.

Sincerely, 

Dr. BUN Sreng, Public Health Specialist, U.S. CDC - Cambodia, Former Manager of the Cambodian Applied Epidemiology Training 

We will miss you and all contribution you did.

Rest in peace.

We will miss you and all contribution you did.

Rest in peace.

I attended my first Tephinet conference in 2010 and I can not forget his smile and his all too common name on all documents as I prepared for travel. Legacy written and covered by the blood of Jesus. Rest well sir.... you did great things for Epi 

Indeed this is a great lost to the FETP community. May his gentle soul rest in peace.

Rest in peace, Professor Dionisio. I had a good opportunity to know him more than 10 years ago and still remembered his optimistic and encourage mind.

Very sad to know that we lost Dr.Dionisio. He always supported us "Regional FETPV" and brought us to this network. We will miss him and everything he contributed to the network

He was such a wonderful and kind person, who affected such incredible positive change worldwide. He was a truly larger than life man who will be greatly missed, especially his warm hugs and glowing smile. I will hold his memory in my heart.

I met Dio in Marrakech in December 2016. He was tired after a long trip, but he took time to speak to me. Always taking time to listen to whoever likes to tell him something. May God bless you, your family and your coworkers. Thank you for making a difference in Global Health.

I have the privilege of having shared with Dionisio more than 20 years of friendship. I proudly saw how he became an international public health leader, with incredible diplomatic skills. Even in big international events, he never lost his warmness and humbleness. We worked, laughted, dansed together all over the world (Spain, France, Sweden, Germany, the Philippines, China, Egypt, US, El Salvador...). He was always shining, filling every space with his smile and positive energy. He could travel so much because he had always annchored in his heart his beloved Candi, his adorable kids José Ramón and Celia and his admired parents Dionisio and Nora. His big heart had space for his Field epidemiology training family and for his friends.

Such an incredible person never leaves.  Te quedas siempre con nosotros, Amigo.

Rest In Peace Dr Dionisio! Will miss your warm smile and passion for field epidemiology! 

Amigo Dionisio, no se donde estarás ahora pero quiero decirte algunas cosas antes de tu marcha definitiva. Te conocí haciendo el PEAC, en Madrid (CNE), además vivíamos juntos en el piso del barrio del Pilar; te conocí a fondo, fuimos de juerga algunas veces y  nos reíamos bastante, hablamos de todo, no en vano teníamos un backgrounds parecido lo cual significo sintonizar contigo inmediatamente. Eras ambicioso y querías prosperar, eso te venía de "casta" pero siempre siempre tu con tu sonrisa por delante, que era tu tarjeta de visita. Ha sido todo un honor poderte conocer y convivir contigo todos esos años. Un abrazo muy muy fuerte allá donde estes, amigo. Luis M Bello

 Su fortaleza, su calidez, su sonrisa con la que lo decía todo. Sus palabras positivas, su capacidad de motivar al trabajo en equipo, su legado de amor a los demás y de mirar adelante. Cada persona, cada lugar, cada corazón en el mundo,  llevarán vivo el recuerdo de él. Somos muchos los que tuvimos la fortuna de compartir con él. Deja una semilla en cada ser. Gracias DIONISIO!!

I am deeply affected by the loss of our joy spreader. I had the honor to meet Dionisio during my years working for EPIET. Meeting him was always a great pleasure, with moments full of energy, happiness and professionalism. Dancing salsa with him in Veyrier-du-lac was a fantastic experience, which I will never forget.

My deepest thoughts and condolences to Candi and the children.

Rest in peace my friend, I will miss you.

Carole

I shall always have fond memories of my late friend, Dionisio.

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