Featured Doctor

ARIAS-CASTILLO, Prof Liliana : WONCA Iberoamericana-CIMF region President 2010-2013


This is a shorter version, in English, of the Spanish article from the Journal "Médico de Familia" published in 2011 when Dr Arias-Castillo was chosen as the journal’s international personality.

Dr Liliana Arias-Castillo graduated as a physician and surgeon at the University of Valle, Colombia. She specialised in Family Medicine and University Teaching, at the same university, graduating in the first class of specialists in Family Medicine, in Colombia, in January 1987. In the United States, she studied for a Fellowship in Humanism in Medicine and another in Community Health, at the University of Louisville. She completed her studies as a Medical Education specialist in the program: ASCOFAME-OPS-Ministry of Education of Colombia. With the INPI and the Argentine Center of Sexology she became an Specialist in Sex Therapy and Education. Later in Brazil, she received her degree as a Specialist in Human Resource Management in Health. She has also done a Diploma in Management at the University of Valle; and in Renewed Primary Health Care, with PAHO.

She has made a significant contribution to the University of Valle, being a full-time lecturer and professor in the Department of Family Medicine, and having worked at the University in a variety of roles, including as the first female Dean of the Faculty of Health in its 65 year history (elected by popular vote for two terms from 2004 to 2007 and from 2007 to 2010). She was also the first woman elected as President of the Colombian Association of Faculties of Medicine of Colombia (ASCOFAME), in its fifty-one year history.

At the University of Valle, she has encouraged the establishment of the disciplines of Adolescence, Sexuality and, with two other colleagues, organized the area of ​Community Health. She was a pioneer in the creation of the Sexual Education specialization, in the University of Valle Faculty of Health, including by distance mode, resulting in the training of specialists in this discipline throughout the country. She has been distinguished as a teacher for her innovation, creativity, participatory methodology and has been awarded "Best Teacher of Family Medicine Award" for undergraduate and graduate students, on several occasions.

She has been visiting professor at many national and international institutions, giving lectures, courses and workshops in family medicine and sexuality. She has participated in projects and has been advisor to the Ministry of Social Protection of Colombia, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the United Nations Population Fund, the Italian Cooperation, Ministry of Health and other public and private entities. In her research, Dr Arias-Castillo has worked mainly on the subjects of sexual and reproductive health.

With the other nine graduates of the first class of family medicine, in Colombia, she founded in 1987, of the Colombian Society of Family Medicine (SOCMEF) and is currently its President. She is also President of the Latin American Confederation of Family Medicine (ICPM) of 20 countries, and was previously the Vice President of the ICPM Andean Region. Currently she represents South America on the Pan American Federation of Faculties of Medicine (FEPAFEM).

Dr Arias-Castillo has been a pioneer for the promotion and development of family medicine as well as sexuality, in Colombia and internationally, especially in Latin America.

She has received numerous awards and honours including: the community of Aguablanca, in Cali, honoured for her service to the community; the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) honoured her active participation in international medical education; and in 2010, was chosen from her state by the President of the Republic of Colombia, Ministry of Women, as one of the "Hundred Women of the Twentieth Century". She is a previous Fulbright Fellow.

She is considered an authority on family medicine and sexology in Colombia, a leader, worthy of being emulated by all generations of family doctors who find in her an example to follow.

Liliana is a humanist with conviction and training. A tireless reader since childhood, she won literary competitions at school, and was second in a national photography competition in Colombia. She writes poems of love and hate, unpublished to date. She loves music, enjoys singing songs, and enjoys sharing exquisite evenings at home, with karaoke and music videos. She is fond of bohemian life - fine wine, dancing; she likes travelling, cooking, (and is an excellent host). She is passionate about what she does.