Former Secretary of Health Johnny Rullán died this morning at the Auxilio Mutuo hospital surrounded by his family, spokesman Pepo García said. He was 64 years old.
García said that the biggest legacy that Rullán leaves to the country through public service was "his struggle for a better Puerto Rico." "Seeing him in recent months, his positivism was admirable," Garcia said of the epidemiologist, who had been hospitalized for a while after suffering a health relapse.
After leaving the Ministry of Health, Rullán joined several crusades in favor of the health of Puerto Ricans. In the fight against the Zika epidemic, Rullán assumed a singing voice in the prevention and management that the government gave to the crisis.RELATED
He added that Rullán was writing a new book that will eventually be published. For 2014, Rullán published the book "A life in health", where he addressed his condition as multiple myeloma, the mistakes he made before he realized that he was suffering from the disease and the political pressures he endured at different times during his public administration.
He also wrote the book "Doctor Rullán's recipe".
García and Rullán met in 2014, he recalled, in Mayagüez when he went to attend a situation of a bacterium in an institution of the mentioned municipality. “It was a very beautiful friendship. A person has left that of the ones I have admired most in my life, an admirable person. An example of struggle, ”he said.
Details of the funeral acts will be issued later in the day.
A life dedicated to health
Rullán graduated from the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine in 1982. He completed his residency in Public Health and Preventive Medicine at the University of John Hopkins, in the city of Baltimore, Maryland.
When he finished his studies in medicine, he worked as an officer of the Epidemic Intelligence Service of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In 2001, he became the secretary of the Department of Health, after being appointed by Governor Sila María Calderón. He held the position until 2004. During his tenure, he faced fiscal problems at the agency due to the sale of hospitals during the previous four-year period.
He then returned to the government in 2008 when he was appointed again Secretary of Health by Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá in the middle of a public controversy over a bacterial outbreak in a hospital in Ponce.
After his second term as head of the agency, he again became a state epidemiologist in 2009. In that year, he faced the H1N1 influenza pandemic. He retired from the government in June 2012.
They react to his death
Immediately, Governor Wanda Vázquez lamented his death.
"I regret the death of a great public servant and passionate about public health in Puerto Rico. Dr. Johnny Rullán represents a trajectory that our people recognize today. Our condolences to his family. May he rest in peace," he said on Twitter.
For his part, the Secretary of Health, Rafael Rodríguez Mercado, described him as a "friend."
"The Department of Health and my person joins the irreparable loss of the past secretary of health and friend Dr. Johnny Rullán and votes for his family to have the conformity and peace at this unfortunate moment," the official said in a tweet.