Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service

Hispanic Officer Advisory Committee

Juan Carlos Finlay Award

Image of Dr. Finlay

The Juan Carlos Finlay Award was originally established by the Hispanic Officers Steering Committee (HOSteC), predecessor to the Hispanic Officers Advisory Committee (HOAC). The award honors individuals, organizations or groups who through work performance and other activities have demonstrated leadership in the development of programs, methods, or services that improve access to and/or health services for Hispanics and other minorities. The award honors two individuals, groups, or organizations for:

  1. Sustained Service Award: Career Dedication
  2. Significant Achievement Award: Notable Achievement



Juan Carlos Finlay (1833 1915), was a physician and epidemiologist who discovered that the mosquito was the vector for yellow fever. Dr. Finlay was born in Puerto Principe (now Camaguey), Cuba, on December 3, 1833. He received his degree in medicine from Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1855, and after further study in Havana and Paris began his medical practice at Matanzas and then in Havana, Cuba.

Dr. Finlay was deeply involved in the great sanitary problems of his country and in 1879 he was named by the Cuban Government to serve with the North American Commission that was in Cuba to study the causes of yellow fever. During his work with the commission, he theorized that the transmission of yellow fever required a vector and presented his theory in 1881 to the International Sanitary Conference in Washington, D.C. In 1881 Finlay also presented a paper to the Academy of Sciences of Havana indicating that a mosquito, Culex faciatus (now known as Aedes aegypti), was the vector of the yellow fever organism. Though supported by numerous experiments and observations, his theory was not accepted by the scientific world until 1901, when Walter Reed confirmed his findings in a report before the International Sanitary conference at Havana. This resulted in the work of W.C. Gorgas in Cuba and Panama, ending the plague that for more than 200 years had scourged the Caribbean and Gulf coastal areas.


Members of the USPHS Commissioned Corps or equivalent civil service professionals. Current voting members of the HOAC are not eligible.


Each nomination shall describe the specific accomplishments of the candidate (individual or organization) who has performed in one or more of the following areas:

  1. Leadership in their area of expertise as it pertains to Hispanic health care issues 
  2. Accomplishments in Hispanic health care development, management, and/or improvement
  3. Organization and/or implementation of activities/programs that significantly improve Hispanic access to health care and health care services.


  1. Complete the Nomination Form.
  2. Write a narrative statement, describing the nominee's accomplishments & impact as outlined above, not to exceed two pages in length.
  3. Nominations may be submitted by PHS Agencies, Regional Offices, private non profit groups, and others with special knowledge of Hispanic health issues and programs.
  4. Nominations must be endorsed by the nominee's first-line supervisor. Other endorsements are encouraged, they provide verification and support. 
  5. ELECTRONIC submissions are strongly encouraged

Applications are solicited beginning January of each year with a submission deadline in mid-March. Stay tuned for 2010 submission information or contact the Awards Subcommittee chairperson for more information.

Awards are presented annually at the U.S. Public Health Service Scientific and Training Symposium.

Download Finlay Award Nomination Form

Juan Carlos Finlay Award Recipients

Year Recipient Name
2020 CDR Osvaldo Baez
CDR William Lopez
2018 LT Carlos Gonzalez-Mercado
2017 CDR Javier Muniz
LCDR Raul Rodriguez
2016 CDR Evelyn Rodriguez
2015 CAPT Claritsa Malave
Dr. Nadine Gracia
LCDR Elizabeth A. DeGrange
2013 RADM Epifanio Elizondo
2012 CDR Madelyn Reyes
CDR Ivonne Arena
2011 CAPT Lydia Soto-Torres
Dr. David Strauss, M.D., Ph.D.
2008 CDR Reginald Ballard
CDR Maria Paz-Smith
2007 RADM Kenneth Castro
CAPT Evangelina Montoya
CAPT Jose Morales

Page Last Modified on 7/1/2020

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