Director, National Institute of Public Health Mexico (INSP)
Phone: +52 1 777 329 3000
Mauricio Hernández-Ávila is the dean of the Mexico School of Public Health and director general of the National Institute of Public Health (INSP). He earned his medical degree from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in 1980 and completed his residency in pathology at the Salvador Zubiran National Institute of Health Sciences and Nutrition (INNSZ) in 1982. Additionally, he studied applied statistics at the Applied Mathematics and Systems Research Institute (UNAM, 1984), and earned a master’s degree (1984) and a doctoral degree (1988), both in science in epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health.
In 1981, he launched his professional career at the Mexican Ministry of Health as an attending physician in the Department of Community Nutrition at the INNSZ. During his doctoral training from 1987-1988, he was invited to serve as epidemiologist in the Department of Medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.
After completing his postgraduate studies in 1988, Dr. Hernández-Avila served as director of the Center for Epidemiological Surveillance of Chronic Illnesses and Accidents at the Mexican Ministry of Health until 1991, at which time he was appointed director of the Center for Public Health Research of INSP. In 1997, he was invited to work as visiting professor at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health until to 1999 when he returned as director of the Center for Population Health Research of the INSP.
By 2004, he was selected to serve as director general of the INSP, a position that he held until December 2006 at which time he was appointed undersecretary of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion of the Mexican Ministry of Health by President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa.
A recognized leader in national and international research, Dr. Hernández-Avila has been a level III member of the National Research System since 1990. His international awards, including the German Michael in the area of health in 2006, and the Alumni Merit Award from the Harvard School of Public Health in 2005. He is author or coauthor of more than 215 published scientific articles, six books, and 45 book chapters on priority global health matters ranging from environmental health, cancer epidemiology, and evaluation of national public programs and public health policies.
During Dr. Hernández-Avila’s first administration as director general of the INSP (2004-2006), he undertook the comprehensive initiative to improve training in public health and other academic programs offered by the INSP, which resulted in the accreditation of the INSP by the Council on Education for Public Health, in addition to the institution becoming the first member of the Association of Schools of Public Health from outside the U.S. He coordinated an international group in charge of the evaluation of programs such as “Seguro Popular” and “Oportunidades (Progresa).” These programs are the principal poverty-reduction strategies implemented by the Mexican government, benefiting over five million families, and generating key information for decision-makers, as well as the continued improvement of these programs.