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    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.

    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.

    The rich cultural traditions of indigenous communities in Brazil have come under threat from mainstream institutions that ignore or discredit their value. Kaká Werá works to bring indigenous cultures to the country’s mainstream, strengthening self-esteem among natives and spreading crucial insights on environmental protection and cultural diversity.

    After founding an art school that seamlessly integrated disabled and non-disabled students, Rodrigo Mendes now helps institutions in private and public sectors reproduce his success in creating environments that accommodate people with disabilities as effectively as they accommodate non-disabled people.

    Brazil has a history of racist traditions that are present throughout society, contributing to a social abyss between blacks and whites. Today, there is a very well articulated black movement in the country. Their efforts, however, are usually limited to addressing the effects of racism within the black community.

    Marta Porto is driving lasting behavior change around key social issues that are poorly understood in Brazil. She has developed a new paradigm for communication whereby she tailors social messages through dozens of media tools in order to communicate with thousands of micro-audiences. By effectively targeting these communities, speaking to them in a language they understand and leading them through their behavioral changes, Marta is impacting the lives of thousands of people throughout Brazil.

    Joao Jorge Santos Rodrigues has been a life-long resident of Salvador, Bahia, the capital of Afro-Brazilian culture. He has learned how to strengthen neighborhood cultural organizations economically, legally, and by helping them provide new social and political leadership. He now hopes to spread his approach nationally.

    Zoica Bakirtzief has conceived a way for people with disabilities to enter into the job market. Rather than focusing on the few opportunities that exist in the formal sector for people who are disabled, diseased, and undereducated, she is training them to start and run their own businesses.

    Marta is setting up an information system for the physically, mentally and sensorially disabled. The system will collect, produce, and disseminate important information for this currently neglected sector of the population, and with this service, Marta expects to influence public policy, thus improving the quality of life and citizenship of disabled populations.

    Dr. Juliana Bacis Ceddia, a physician specializing in cardiology, has created an effective method for treating heart defects among infants, children, and adolescents from poor families. She has demonstrated that it is possible to reform Brazil's rigid and poorly funded public health system to provide free, high-quality, specialized care to people of all classes.