WAIMH Connectors and Collaborators Column

Recipients of the Sonya Bemporad Award Dr Miguel Cherro Aguerre and Dr Natalia Trenchi with Chair of Programme Committee Mark Tomlinson (in the middle) at WAIMH 14th World Congress Edinburgh in 2014. Photo by Simon Williams.


This column features WAIMH members who are contributing to the fabric and virtues of WAIMH in their region and or community. It especially celebrates their tireless efforts to build working relationships across disciplines and sectors for the benefit of the infant and family mental health and development. In this column we introduce and celebrate Dr Miguel Cherro-Aguerre (Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist), from Uruguay.

The WAIMH Perspectives Editorial team would like to congratulate Dr Miguel Cherro-Aguerre who has recently been designated as an Honorary Member of the Academy of Medicine of Uruguay. As an Honorary Member of the Academy of Medicine of Uruguay, he gave his first lecture as an Academicist, in the subject of attachment. Of his work he said that:

I am very proud and happy to realize that actually in our country we have a lot of clinicians and investigators that are seriously working in early relationship. I still work giving lectures, supervising younger clinicians and giving support and advice to a pediatric palliative care team (Personal communication with Dr Miguel Cherro-Aguerre).

In Uruguay, Dr Cherro-Aguerre was one of the pioneers of infant mental health. In 1977, he introduced attachment theory in the study of child development. Reflecting on this time, he said:

Previously an eminent etiologist, Professor Rodolfo Tálice, inspired in Konrad Lorenz, studied the theory in the animal realm. Then, following the suggestion of two friends, Salvador Celia (Brasil) and Juan Miguel Hoffmann (Argentina), I decided my affiliation to WAIPAD (World Association of Infant Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines) (Personal communication with Dr Miguel Cherro-Aguerre).

Continuing to reflect on his time as a member of WAIMH he recalled that:

The first congress that I attended was Lugano 1989 where our research team presented a follow-up study of identical twins. The principal supervisors of that work were Bob Emde and Joy Osofsky. The great Master Serge Lebovici, also gave us some suggestions too. At that congress of 1989, WAIPAD changed her name to WAIMH (Personal communication with Dr Miguel Cherro-Aguerre).


I should also thank the kindness of the editors of the books and journals of the Association, thanks to whom we were able to publish our papers on twins, teenage mothers, violence and primary attention in the community (Personal communication with Dr Miguel Cherro-Aguerre).

In addition to long standing organisational service to IACAPAP, Dr Miguel Cherro- Aguerre was a joint recipient with Dr Natalia Trenchi (Uruguay) of the WAIMH Sonya Bemporad Award. This award is:

Given in recognition of significant contributions to the advancement of social and public policies that contribute to the mental health and overall benefit of infants, toddlers, and their families. Nominees typically are not involved in service delivery or scientific or clinical studies of infants. Legislators, officials, advocates, media representatives, foundation directors, and concerned citizens may qualify for the award (www.waimh.org).

News of this award was published in Perspectives (LINK).

Dr Miguel Cherro Aguerre, was especially recognized for “his leadership and good will as well as his clinical wisdom and ability to educate a wide range of people to better the lives of infants, young children and their families in Uruguay”.

In conjunction, Dr Natalia Trenchi was recognised for her:

… creative contributions in the public domain have included her newspaper columns, radio and regular television shows, books and presentations for schools as well as for community organizations—all bringing advice on parenting and healthy development in the early years.

Many WAIMH congress participants will have had the opportunity to meet Dr Miguel Cherro-Aguerre and Dr Natalia Trenchi and to hear about their work and research in Uruguay. Miguel mentioned that he had been attending WAIMH congresses from 1989 till more recently in Prague (2016) and that he

… always enjoyed the Meetings, not only for their profound teachings but also for the friendly climate that we felt in each of them …There had been 30 wonderful years in WAIMH… I will continue working for the Infant Mental Health as much as I can, and doing so I thank WAIMH, all its members and especially, Bob Emde (Personal communication with Dr Miguel Cherro-Aguerre).


Maree Foley (Switzerland), Deborah Weatherston (USA), Bob Emde (USA)