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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.

    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.

    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. Pierre Foldes is developing an unprecedented holistic approach in a unique, free and accessible center, to efficiently overcome the issues these women are confronted with – medical, psychological, legal, and social – when they are ready to break the cycle of domestic violence. His solution is conceived as an ecosystem of cooperation between the (doctors, police, justice, small shops) to design and scale new ways of detecting and supporting these women until they are totally out of danger.

    In the state of Bahia, in the northeast of Brazil, Sonia Coutinho has developed a center for arts and alternative education for adolescents with moderate learning disabilities that is remarkably effective in aiding their transition from school to productive employment and facilitating their continued intellectual growth. It is also playing an important role in heightening public awareness of the potential of such individuals for productive roles in society.

    Rosangela Bieler, a 32-year-old journalist and paraplegic, is the founder and president of the Independent Living Center of Rio de Janeiro, an organization which is spearheading the movement of disabled Brazilians to win full citizenship.

    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.

    By teaching practical culinary and social skills, Simone Berti is preparing individuals with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities to assimilate into society and be self-sufficient.

    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.