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    Merula Steagall has thalassemia—a rare hereditary blood disease—but has always led a normal life. Aware of the low quality of life for the majority of thalassemia patients in Brazil, she has used her knowledge of business to communicate with diverse partners about the democratization of access to health information and quality treatments. Through her work, Merula has doubled the life expectancy of patients, and is beginning to work on a broader range of blood diseases.

    Marie-Noëlle Besançon is revolutionizing long-term care for those suffering from mental illnesses in France by developing a network of low-cost, easily replicable non-medical living centers aimed at shifting the care of those suffering from psychiatric problems from the clinical realm to the citizen sector.

    As the elderly live longer lives and make up an increasing percentage of the population in Europe, Jean-Michel is helping them overcome the various physical and psychological ailments that prevent them from enjoying their latter years. His program, which emphasizes the importance of prevention, uses unique exercises and physical training to delay the onset of age-related impairment and disease.

    Beginning with highway rescue, Dr. Subroto Das is creating for the first time in the history of South Asia, emergency medical systems that integrate the work of hospitals, ambulances, police, citizens, and the state.

    Renê Patriota is a physician who empowers consumers to demand and receive better health care from both the public health system and private health insurance and health plans. Her association resolves immediate problems that threaten patients' access to urgently needed medical attention and seeks long-term solutions to guarantee patients' access to quality health services. Renê's work enables individuals to become active citizens as they exercise their right to quality health care.

    Committed to working with senior citizens, Maria de Lourdes Bráz has found a simple way to transform the standard assistance-based model, to which all government agencies and members of society conform, into an effective integration model.

    Wellington Nogueira created an organization devoted to bringing happiness into the lives of children in hospitals through the dramatic art of clowning. Through his program he strives to give this form of artistic expression a predominantly social character in an effort to humanize Brazilian hospitals.

    Luiz de Barros (Brazil 1997) is implementing Brazil's first nationwide network of self-help groups for the mentally disabled, while challenging Brazilian society to recognize, understand, and address the needs and rights of the mentally disabled population in their midst.

    Jose Marmo da Silva (Brazil 1996) is a dentist working in the public health system in Rio de Janeiro, and an "oga," or initiate of the African Brazilian religion of Candomble. Jose believes that Western style AIDS-prevention campaigns do not work in the Afro-Brazilian context. Therefore he is designing a customized campaign for AIDS prevention/education in the Afro-Brazilian community.

    In a pilot center in a small town in northeastern Brazil, Renata Arantes Villela is creating a caring and nurturing environment for the disabled. With strong links to the broader community in which it is based, the pilot center will serve as a model for the development of much-needed services for the disabled and as a vehicle for combating misconceptions about disabled individuals and what they can offer to their communities.