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    Although Brazil struggled with issues of severe malnutrition in the past, since the 1990s obesity among children has become an increasingly alarming but unreported problem. Vera Perino is transforming the way Brazilian society perceives and addresses obesity by looking at both its causes and symptoms, while sparking deep behavior change and offering alternative lifestyle opportunities to low-income children and their families.

    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.

    Joao Claudio has long sought the most effective way to serve the poor: first as a Jesuit, then as a social activist, and now as a doctor developing novel ways of providing first-class health care to Brazil's slum dwellers.

    Raquel Barros' new approach is rehabilitating young, low-income, chemically dependent mothers, an underserved population in Brazil.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    Fernando Assad is preventing major health risks and bringing dignity to those in Brazil who live in unsafe homes with his home improvement kit. In addition to the kit, his organization Vivenda creates incentives for volunteers, builders, the government, and companies from the housing construction supply chain to provide safer housing for the millions living in inadequate homes.

    Through her organization Instituto Oncoguia, Luciana empowers cancer patients with information and personalized support, enabling them to take an active role in their treatment and recovery, while at the same leading changes in how society and health institutions view and treat the disease in Brazil.