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Vera R. Cordeiro

Founder and Chairwoman of the Board of Associação Saúde Criança, Vera R. Cordeiro was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, MD as a General Practitioner graduated in 1975 from the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. From 1978 to 1998, she worked at the Hospital da Lagoa founding in 1979 the Psychosomatic Department. In 1991, she founded the Associação Saúde Criança, based in Rio de Janeiro, a social organization working with a pioneering methodology to promote the well-being of socially vulnerable families, with long-term results, proven by researchers at Georgetown University.

Over the course of 27 years, Vera has enabled the creation of 23 similar NGOs near public hospitals in 6 states in Brazil and others social entrepreneurs have spread the methodology in many countries all over the world and influenced public policy in the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Vera has been rewarded with various prizes by institutions from around the world. She is an Ashoka fellow, a Skoll Foundation awardee, Schwab Foundation social entrepreneur, an Avina leader, a member of the World Council of Ashoka, a member of the Academic Medicine of Rio de Janeiro, and from 2005-2011 a Board member of PATH: A Catalyst for Global Health.

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Dara Institute
Non-profit Social Enterprise
Global Health; Youth Perspectives
Areas of Impact
Latin America, Brazil

Dara Institute

Associação Saúde Criança (ASC) is an independent social organization that works with its own innovative methodology to assist families in social vulnerability who have a sick child undergoing treatment at a public health facility. The crisis becomes apparent when the pre-existing challenges of poverty worsen with the need to care for the child's health, threatening the family's integrity even further. ASC was one of the pioneer institutions to prove the social determinants impact on health.

ASC seeks to reframe the value equation of the Brazilian healthcare system from one focused on treatment of health shocks in children to one that addresses the root causes in key areas (education, health, housing, income generation and citizenship). Its model for change is to use a powerful methodology (structuring interventions around five key areas) that leverages existing assets (doctors, nutritionists, lawyers, social workers, psychologists, architects) to improve the health, well-being and social inclusion of underserved children and their families. ASC also contributes to the policy debates on the social dimensions of cities and how to effectively reduce poverty and social exclusion associated with health conditions.

By 2018, 15,500 families (approximately 70,000 people) took part in the Family Action Plan at the ASC head office and the centers that implemented the program in association with public health facilities. Of this total, 4,000 families (18,000 people) were assisted in Belo Horizonte after the methodology was adopted as a public policy for development. In 2018, ASC was ranked 18 out of 500 top NGOs in the world by NGO Advisor based on criteria such as governance, transparency, innovation and social impact. The same entity has named ASC the most influential nongovernmental organization in Latin America for the past 6 years.


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