Ecuador’s former president offers his perspectives on government’s role in health care

Alfredo Palacio’s talk is part of WUSTL’s Global Health Week

​Public health is becoming one of the most pressing social concerns facing the global community, and it’s an issue Alfredo Palacio, MD, recognized years ago as president of the Republic of Ecuador.

Palacio will visit Washington University in St. Louis during its annual Global Health Week (GHW) Sept. 23-27 and give an Assembly Series address on “Government and Health Care: Perspectives from a President and a Physician” at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25, in Graham Chapel on the Danforth Campus.

The Assembly Series lecture is one of three public talks he will deliver as
the speaker for the Center for Global Health’s inaugural Visiting Lecture Series. The Center for Global Health is an initiative of WUSTL’s Institute for Public Health.

The other two talks by Palacio are “The Burden of
Cardiovascular Disease in Latin America” at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept.
25, in the Farrell Learning & Teaching Center, Connor Auditorium,
and for Internal Medicine grand rounds, “Biology Is the Only Possible
Tool for a New World Order” at 8 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, in Clopton

All three talks are free and open to the public.

Palacio was educated as a cardiologist in Ecuador, then came to the United States to complete his residency at Case Western Reserve University. That was followed by a two-year fellowship at Washington University’s School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

After returning to his country and serving in a number of official positions, including vice president and minister of health, Palacio assumed the presidency in 2005.

Under his leadership, Palacio initiated important reforms, especially in the area of health care, to launch the social, economic and political transformation of his country. His reforms included universal health coverage for all Ecuadorians.

Washington University sponsors for Global Health Week are: Global Health Scholars in Medicine in the Department of Medicine; Center for Global Health at the Institute for Public Health; School of Engineering & Applied Science; Gephardt Institute for Public Service; and the Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government, and Public Policy in Arts & Sciences; as well as Barnes-Jewish Hospital; St. Louis College of Pharmacy; and many community partners including the Saint Louis Zoo, the U.S. Army and Northwestern Mutual.

For a more detailed preview of activities offered during Global Health Week, read the Record story here. For information on Assembly Series events, visit or call (314) 935-4620.​