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With the presence of professionals from PAHO and other health organizations, government agencies, academic institutions and the virtual participation of professionals from many parts of the Hemisphere, a Pan American Virtual Conference on the development and evolution of the portals of Public Health Institutions in Ibero-America examined the current and future impact of Web 2.0 on Public Health.

The conference—on December 3 and 4, 2009—was organized by the Knowledge Management and Communications Area, Regional Office of PAHO/WHO, the Knowledge Management Area of the PAHO/WHO Office in Brazil; the Ministry of Health and Social Policy, Government of Spain; the School of Medicine and Work Security, Health Institute Carlos III, Ministry of Science and Innovation, Government of Spain; and the Bio-health Libraries, School of Medicine, University of Salamanca, Spain.

The idea was to establish a virtual space for collective thinking and to develop a network vision and an action plan to facilitate joint interoperability and evolution of all the portals of Public Health Institutions and PAHO/WHO. Establishing and consolidating a virtual space for the analysis and exchange of experiences and lessons will contribute to the development and improvement of institutional portals of Official Health Institutions in the Region of Ibero-America.

The Pan American Health Organization is strongly committed to responding to new challenges by approaching new processes, projects, beliefs and behaviors, which relate to the value of information and knowledge sharing and the effective use of information and communication technologies, with the purpose of enhancing technical cooperation in the Region of the Americas. This Pan American Virtual Conference is a key step towards addressing such challenges and is aimed at achieving equitable access to Health Information in the Region so that every human being can enjoy a healthy, respectable and dignified life.

Among the main topics discussed in the Conference were:

  • Web 2.0, Medicine 2.0 and Public Health;
  • Web 2.0 in the Pan American Health Organization and in the World Health Organization;
  • Evolution and trends of the Web and its impact on Public Health;
  • New information and communication technologies in the Information Society including social networks, data mining and handling of full texts;
  • Successful experiences in the Region and the world in Web 2.0;

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