PANLAR 2023 Coverage

Fernando Neubarth’s Pan-American spirit

By : Estefanía Fajardo
Periodista científica de Global Rheumatology by PANLAR.

29 May, 2023
Cite as:
Fajardo E. Fernando Neubarth’s Pan-American spirit | Global Rheumatology Vol 4 / Ene - Jun [2023]. Available from:

"The Brazilian doctor was awarded the Pan-American Spirit recognition at the PANLAR 2023 Congress. His motto: to be good doctors, we have to be good people. "

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E- ISSN: 2709-5533
Vol 4 / Jan - Jun [2023]


Fernando Neubarth’s Pan-American spirit

Author: Estefanía Fajardo: Scientific journalist of Global Rheumatology by PANLAR,


Cite as: Fajardo E. Fernando Neubarth’s Pan-American spirit | Global Rheumatology Vol 4 / Ene - Jun [2023]. Available from:

Published Date: 29/ May/ 2023

He finds it difficult to talk about himself, but when his name is mentioned to others, they respond with emotional praise. He defines himself as a doctor by profession and as a writer by necessity. The former, perhaps inspired by his maternal grandfather, whom he did not know personally, but whose spirit and calling to care for others he was aware of.

Fernando Neubarth is from Brazil, the country that hosted the PANLAR 2023 Congress and where he was presented with the Pan-American Spirit Award. A recognition that he considers a “generous gesture” from those who nominated him and which he dedicates to the friends and family who have been part of his journey and history.

Neubarth is a specialist in internal medicine and rheumatology, currently serving as the chief of the Department of Rheumatology at Hospital Moinhos de Vento. He has an extensive background, having previously held the position of president of the Brazilian Society of Rheumatology (SBR) from 2006 to 2008 and president of the SBR Advisory Council.

His motivation to become a doctor emerged during the time when he was choosing a career. He reflects, “perhaps I was influenced by the story of my maternal grandfather, whom I did not have the chance to know personally, but who served with great care to others, displaying a spirit of idealism and interest in the common good”.

Rheumatology became an option during his residency in internal medicine at Hospital de Clínicas of Porto Alegre, of the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul. “At the time, the Department of Rheumatology was led by professor João Carlos Tavares Brenol, a passionate rheumatologist who played a significant role in fostering my interest and fascination for the institutional life at the Brazilian Society of Rheumatology (SBR). Under his guidance I had the opportunity to contribute to the SBR Newsletter, which he invited me to edit.  I held that position for over a decade and it helped me establish my presence within the field. Later, I was honored to be elected as the president of the Society”, he recalls. He also mentions the significant his colleague and mentor, Dr. Umberto Lopes de Oliveira Filho, played in his life during medical residency, “Dr. Umberto Lopes de Oliveira Filho taught me a lot, especially about the relationship with patients”.

For Neubarth, who is fascinated by humanities, “we are all influenced by our circumstances and relationships during our upbringing, as well as the privileges of life and family. I have been particularly influenced by many individuals, in addition to those I have already mentioned. I would not be fair to single out just a few among the many who have had a profound impact on me and who continue to be present in my ongoing learning journey”, he says. “Time proves that every time we become aware of how little we know, and we realize the need to continue learning”, he adds.

In his corporate life, during his presidency at SBR, he shared his journey with a group of colleagues that also provided him significant support. This included those on the executive board as well as the associates at the time, “whom I have had the privilege to know personally, and most of them I recognize by name. They became my friends and living examples whom I remember with respect and affection”.

When asked about what other profession he would’ve chosen, he responds that although he rarely contemplates such thoughts, he would probably have pursued something different. However, he would approach it with the same sense of dedication, always striving to adhere to the principles of what he understands as ethical and responsible. 


His work at PANLAR

Dr. Neubarth confesses that his interest in PANLAR emerged from individuals such as Dr. Pedro da Silva Nava and Dr. Adil Muhib Samara, former Brazilian presidents of the organization. “Dr. Samara continues to be a source of inspiration for me. However, it was with my friend Antonio Carlos Ximenes that I began to actively participate in PANLAR”, he pronounces.

During his term at the helm of the SBR, “I worked to strengthen the relationship between the Brazilian Society and the League, and as a result of that effort, I was honored with the title of Distinguished Member of PANLAR. For several years I served as a representative of the SBR at the League, and since 2010 I have been a member of the Board of Directors. Previously, I held positions such as general secretary, vice president of the south region. With the formation of the new board, I became representative of the Southern Cone”.

In 2010, Neubarth chaired the XXVIII Brazilian Congress of Rheumatology in Porto Alegre. This event was the third largest in the world, following ACR and EULAR, and the second larger among national societies of rheumatology. It also marked a significant milestone for PANLAR with the first joint course of the Pan-American League in collaboration with the ACR and the SBR. 

In summary, Neubarth explains that his involvement in PANLAR is primarily a result of his admiration for his friend Ximenes: “During his tenure, I served as the general secretary, believing in and supporting his strong dedication to building a more cohesive society with increased international participation, an area in which he excels.”

During this period, “we always relied on the participation of Dr. Maria Amazile Ferreira Toscano, the representative of the SBR at PANLAR, who is also an exemplary figure of dedication. As the representative of the Southern Cone, she maintained a close relationship with Dr. Miguel Albanese, a remarkable humanist who embodies the finest qualities of what I understand as civic virtues. I believe I played a significant role in his decision to become the president of PANLAR, and that is something that brings me great satisfaction.”

He also believes that PANLAR has been successfully fulfilling its main goals: “In my opinion, PANLAR has been effectively tackling significant challenges, such as creating content in different languages. It is a League of National Societies that is rich in human and scientific values, pioneering in the fields of teaching and research, and has been establishing its position in engaging with patients.”

At this point, he quotes the Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier, who once said that in Latin America, we have experienced many centuries simultaneously, highlighting the disparity that can be reduced through mutual understanding, shared experiences, and support in addressing weaknesses while celebrating achievements and successes. “Union and cooperation in the pursuit of improved health conditions, prevention, treatment, research promotion, and knowledge sharing through education and teaching. In my opinion, PANLAR is following this virtuous path,” he reflects.


Pan-American spirit

Dr. Neubarth states that the announcement of award bestowed upon him by PANLAR was a “pleasant surprise”. He has always cherished institutional work because he believes in the value of institutions that promote harmony and contribute to the betterment of the human condition. “I see this award more as a gesture of recognition for all those who work, regardless of their position or title, towards the development of this story,” he states.

Perhaps what he values the most is the existence of a medal with this symbolism within the institution: “It serves as proof of recognition for those who dedicate themselves to helping others and making dreams come true, even through small actions at the right time, and assisting in making important decisions. There are many people like that, and that’s why I believe calling it the ‘spirit’ encapsulates all of that.”

The announcement was made through a letter recognizing his work and listing the efforts he has made. He received it while he was with his family, which made the moment even more special: “I see the letter as a gesture of generosity and a strong sense of belonging. However, I attribute it more to the good intentions of those who nominated me for this tribute. My family knows me well, and they have always been there for me, not only during my involvement in PANLAR but also in other institutions that I believe in and work for. They are also a part of it,” he articulates.

Indeed, he possesses the spirit of a doctor, a humanist, and a hard worker who recognizes those who have been part of his journey. Now it is his turn, the turn of the Pan-American spirit: “I reaffirm that I am proud to be a part of this institution that values a somewhat ethereal virtue, with the name ‘spirit’ not chosen by chance. It is within the spirit of this institution that you find the reason for its enduring presence. I am grateful that they believe I can, in some way, represent such a noble and vital cause for society.”

I have contributed as best as I could, although perhaps no more than many others, and often anonymously. I have tried to raise my voice whenever possible, acting, but also remaining silent when I believe it is the right thing to do. I firmly believe that an institution is strong when each of its members is valued. We are a league of societies representing a select group of rheumatologists from all of the Americas. Our goal is to be not only good doctors but also good people. I believe that is what we are all striving for,” he expresses.

Afterward, he confesses that he doesn’t have a definitive formula for achieving this, but it is something he constantly ponders. “I would also like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to PANLAR, particularly to the editor of Global Rheumatology, the always enthusiastic Dr. Carlo Vinicio Caballero Uribe, for the privilege of participating in this wonderful journal. I have always enjoyed reading and through many of these texts, including fictional ones, I have shared my concerns and the belief that our education should be connected to various fields of knowledge. Medicine goes beyond a singular approach; it encompasses the transcendence of all wisdom. This sentiment is shared with my Portuguese colleague Abel Salazar, who said, ‘The doctor who only knows medicine does not even know medicine.’ For me, writing is not about dictating knowledge and truths; it is about sharing questions and engaging in an exchange of concerns,” he says.

When asked about his dreams and the spirit that led him to this recognition, he expresses that he has plenty: “I aspire to continue living in the present, valuing the mystery and the gift of our existence. Additionally, I hope for a more equitable society, bridging the gaps in social and economic conditions. This aspiration applies to every field and path I pursue.”

He concludes with a reflection: “We must continuously strive to be better rheumatologists, better doctors. The first requirement is to love people, to listening and telling stories. This is what propels civilization forward and allows us to envision a better future.”

Rheumatology has always surprised me and continues to do so. It represents the breadth and excellence of clinical practice—a colorful and multifaceted mosaic of stories and characters, a constant source of amazement at the richness of life”.


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