NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION AMAURY COUTINHO

By Gerusa Dreyer*

Transfer of knowledge from the academy to the real world: feasible or utopia?

Research scientists have been taught that their task ends upon publication of the results of their studies.

These scientific papers may be found in a static form in journals and photocopies, sitting on library shelves and students' desks, or in a dynamic form on virtual internet channels.

After the publication of a scientific paper, it is considered acceptable for scientists to feel that their duty to society has been accomplished.

Some researchers, however, represent praiseworthy exceptions to that general pattern. These scientists want to make sure that humanity realizes the benefits of their work – and this may require involvement far beyond scientific publications.

In fact, this was the profile of Professor Amaury Coutinho (more details about him are available at the moment in Portuguese only).

Professor Amaury Coutinho was a distinguished Pernambuco-born ( Brazil ) researcher, who dedicated his professional life to the study of schistosomiasis and lymphatic filariasis. In 1948, in Brazil , Professor Coutinho was the first scientist to describe tropical pulmonary eosinophilia (a rare manifestation of bancroftian filariasis), and in the course of the last years of his life, full of wisdom, he dedicated his efforts to the study of bancroftian filariasis. Just a few days after turning 83 years old, in April 1995, Professor Amaury Coutinho passed away.

To fulfill the continuity of his dreams, and to bring into daily practice what he has preached, the Non-Governmental Organization Amaury Coutinho was created in December 1996.

The Organization was created to assure a bridge between the academic and the real worlds.

In fact, the NGO Amaury Coutinho intends to guarantee the existence of a link between scientific knowledge and the populations who can benefit from this knowledge, in a way that takes into account their reality and capacity for learning. The Organization also intends to make funds available for research that is needed to arrest and prevent individual suffering caused by the disease.

This work becomes possible through the contributions of donors, mainly foreign, who believe that their participation, when added to that of others, will make a better life possible for millions of people in the tropical world.

Professor Amaury Coutinho taught us that "the whole is bigger than the sum of the individual parts", and this experience has guided the harmonious spirit of the collaborators that strengthens the Organization.

The creation of such an organization based on the continuity of his dreams will surely give the restless researcher, Amaury Coutinho, the certainty that his task was completed.

*Gerusa Dreyer, M.D. created the Non-Governmental Organization Amaury Coutinho in 1997. She is a retired researcher from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation and Professor of Infectious Disease at the Federal University of Pernambuco in Recife , Brazil. Dr. Dreyer has dedicated the last 20 years of her life to working with patients suffering from bancroftian filariasis. In the past, she and Professor Joaquim Norões M.D. coordinated the International Training Center in Lymphatic Filariasis, and NEPAF (located at Hospital das Clinicas at the Federal University of Pernambuco).

The overall goal of the organization