Remembering Gustavo Kouri

TDR news item
7 May 2011

One of the great figures in international health, tropical medicine and infectiology is no longer with us. Professor Gustavo Kouri, recently honoured as Founding Director, and until his recent retirement, Director General, at the IPK, Instituto Pedro Kouri in La Habana, Cuba died unexpectedly on 5 May, 2011. Under his leadership, the Institute achieved international reputation and was appointed as a Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/ World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre in three areas. Professor Kouri and his institute were extremely influential in the region through the publication of more than 200 scientific articles, the organization of numerous international meetings in Cuba and elsewhere, and the development of an ever growing number of alumni. Professor Kouri will be remembered for his personal commitment, particularly for the poor, his dedication to translating research findings into policy actions, his scientific rigour and honesty and his perseverance under often very difficult circumstances. There were numerous occasions in which Professor Kouri chaired important international meetings that contributed to evidence-based public health interventions. His biannual international dengue course (the next being organized in August, 2011) is highly acknowledged by researchers worldwide.

Gustavo Kouri has been a supporter of TDR for almost 30 years. He participated in the Joint Coordinating Board, TDR's highest governing body, 17 times as a member and 5 times as an observer in the period from 1981 to 2010. In 1993 he was elected and served as Vice Chair. He has also been a member of TDR's Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee and numerous other committees. He has been a friend who provided important advice and guidance, and we at TDR will miss him deeply.

In addition to his membership of TDR's JCB, Prof. Kouri was also a member of WHO's Scientific and Technical Advisory Group for Neglected Tropical Diseases. We, along with WHO's Department of Neglected Tropical Diseases and his many other friends in WHO wish to convey our sympathy and condolences to Professor Kouri's family and colleagues. An additional obituary has been prepared in memory of Prof. Kouri at the NTD web site.