In Memoriam: Heloisa Sabin
WASHINGTON, D.C. – October 17, 2016 – The Sabin Vaccine Institute joins a global community of friends, partners and global health advocates in celebrating the life of Heloisa Sabin (née Dunshee de Abranches), who passed away October 12 at the age of 98. Wife of the late Dr. Albert B. Sabin, who developed the oral live virus polio vaccine, Heloisa Sabin shared her late husband’s dedication to the elimination of needless human suffering and poverty.
Heloisa Sabin was an outspoken advocate in the effort to end vaccine preventable diseases. Following Albert Sabin’s death, Heloisa dedicated her life to continuing the work and legacy of her husband. Highlighting this commitment, she founded the Sabin Vaccine Institute in 1993 with Dr. Herman Shepherd, Dr. Robert Chanock and Dr. Philip Russell. She served as a trustee or honorary trustee of the Institute until the time of her death.
Born in 1917 in Brazil, Heloisa Sabin lived through some of the greatest global health achievements in history. She watched as the world was transformed by milestones such as the discovery of penicillin and the eradication of smallpox, and later would become intimately familiar with the polio eradication effort, led in part by her late husband, Dr. Albert Sabin.
Prior to meeting Dr. Sabin in 1971, Heloisa lived in Brazil and worked as a secretary for a local newspaper publisher. Albert Sabin had distinguished himself at the time of their introduction for developing the live, oral polio vaccine and was brought to Brazil by his continuing research. Following their marriage, Heloisa became involved in global health, a transition that would define much of her later life.
Heloisa was devoted to her husband and supported him as he continued his work as a consultant to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, a professor of biomedicine at the Medical University of South Carolina, and a senior consultant at the Fogarty International Center for Advanced Studies in the Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health over the coming decades. Their partnership and commitment to expanding vaccination coverage brought them around the world where they shared their vision with and received encouragement from international leaders including U.S. President Bill Clinton.
“Heloisa Sabin was an extraordinary person with a lot of determination, and she brought the same determination and commitment to the Sabin Vaccine Institute,” said Philip Russell, Trustee and past President and Chairman of the Sabin Vaccine Institute. “Her dedication to her husband’s legacy of combatting the diseases of ignorance and poverty has helped guide the Sabin Vaccine Institute since its founding. Today, we mourn the loss of a great champion and friend, but Heloisa’s legacy and commitment will continue to inspire us all for many years to come.”
Heloisa is survived by her sons Carlos and Eduardo Jardim, six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren as well as Dr. Sabin’s children Amy Sabin Horn and Deborah Sabin and three grandchildren. She will be laid to rest next to her late husband in Arlington National Cemetery.
About the Sabin Vaccine Institute
The Sabin Vaccine Institute (Sabin) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization of scientists, researchers and advocates dedicated to reducing needless human suffering from vaccine-preventable and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Since its founding in 1993 in honor of Dr. Albert B. Sabin, the developer of the oral polio vaccine, Sabin has been at the forefront of global efforts to eliminate, prevent and cure infectious and neglected tropical diseases.
Sabin develops new vaccines, advocates for increased use of existing vaccines and promotes expanded access to affordable medical treatments in collaboration with governments, academic institutions, companies, scientists, medical professionals and other non-profit organizations. For more information please visit www.sabin.org.