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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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.