Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi and Dr. Flor Muñoz Receive the Houston Mayor’s 2022 Hispanic Heritage Award in Healthcare


Photo of Dr. Bottazzi and Dr. Munoz

Houston, TX – October 11, 2022 – Two innovative Houstonians with Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine received the Mayor’s 2022 Hispanic Heritage Award in healthcare today. Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi, co-director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development and professor and associate dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, and Dr. Flor Muñoz, director of transplant infectious diseases at Texas Children's Hospital and an associate professor of pediatrics – infectious diseases at Baylor College of Medicine, officially received the award jointly during a proclamation ceremony today at City Hall.

Mayor Sylvester Turner and the Mayor’s Hispanic Advisory Board provides this and other awards to honor exceptional Houstonians during Hispanic Heritage Month, seeking to recognize exemplary Hispanics who have made outstanding contributions toward improving the quality of life within the Houston Hispanic community.

Dr. Bottazzi was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize this year alongside her colleague of over 20 years, Dr. Peter Hotez, for significant contributions to global vaccine equality. They were also named two of Fast Company’s 2022 Most Creative People in Business. With their team, they researched and developed a patent-free, low-cost recombinant protein COVID-19 vaccine that has received emergency use authorization in several parts of the world. Dr. Bottazzi has led numerous community events to educate Latinos about COVID-19 vaccine development and served on local and national task forces. Dr. Bottazzi was recently named one of Forbes and Bloomberg’s most influential people in Central and Latin America, respectively, and was a panelist at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting where she discussed global vaccine equality.

I am honored and humbled to receive, jointly with Dr. Muñoz, this award and celebrate our Central American heritage. Together we are using innovative strategies in the vaccine sciences with the goal to reach millions of children globally and close the health inequity gaps making this world more prosperous,” said Dr. Bottazzi.

Dr. Muñoz and her team led treatment and COVID-19 vaccine trials in Houston at Texas Children’s Hospital for healthy children under the age of 12 and immunocompromised children. She conducted a NIH sponsored study on COVID-19 vaccines in pregnancy to evaluate their protection in mothers and infants. Dr. Muñoz has been a steadfast advocate for pediatric patients and pregnant women at Texas Children’s Hospital, ensuring equal access to life-saving therapeutic treatments. During the pandemic, Dr. Muñoz continually participated in various national and local events and activities to educate the Houston community about the importance of getting vaccinated, methods to stay safe and recruitment for critical vaccine trials. Additionally, Dr. Muñoz served in various national and international committees and local task forces in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She is co-chair of the COVAX-CEPI Maternal Immunization Group and of the Global Vaccine Development Network maternal vaccine safety working group, and chair of the Institutional Review Board at Baylor College of Medicine.

“It is a true honor to receive the Mayor's Hispanic Heritage Award for Healthcare along with Dr. Bottazzi. I am humbled to share this recognition with all those working in healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic and proud of our Hispanic community in Houston. I am grateful for Texas Children's Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine's support for our efforts in ensuring and improving the health of children, their mothers, and their families here at home and worldwide,” said Dr. Muñoz.


Texas Children’s Hospital, a not-for-profit health care organization, is committed to creating a healthier future for children and women throughout the global community by leading in patient care, education and research. Consistently ranked as the best children’s hospital in Texas, and among the top in the nation, Texas Children’s has garnered widespread recognition for its expertise and breakthroughs in pediatric and women’s health. The hospital includes the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute; the Feigin Tower for pediatric research; Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, a comprehensive obstetrics/gynecology facility focusing on high-risk births; Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, a community hospital in suburban West Houston; and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, the first hospital devoted to children’s care for communities north of Houston. The organization also created Texas Children’s HealthPlan, the nation’s first HMO for children; has the largest pediatric primary care network in the country, Texas Children’s Pediatrics; Texas Children’s Urgent Care clinics that specialize in after-hours care tailored specifically for children; and a global health program that’s channeling care to children and women all over the world. Texas Children’s Global Health program leads efforts that advance health care equity through innovative collaboration in care, education and research for underserved populations globally. Texas Children’s Hospital is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine. For more information, go towww.texaschildrens.org. Get the latest news by visiting the online newsroom and Twitter at twitter.com/texaschildrens.


Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development is one of the leading vaccine development centers in the world. Established in Washington DC as the Sabin Vaccine Institute Product Development Partnership (PDP) in the year 2000 and after relocating to the Texas Medical Center in 2011, it rebranded as Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development. For the past two decades it has acquired an international reputation as a non-profit PDP, advancing vaccines for poverty-related neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and emerging infectious diseases of pandemic importance. In addition, it builds and strengthens capacity for vaccine development locally and with foreign nations and leads global efforts to guide and influence vaccine policy and advocacy through “vaccine diplomacy” as an international bridge for peace and vaccine development capacity.