Luis Falcón

Luis Falcón Martín is a Spanish computer scientist, physician and Free Software activist. He is the founder of GNU Solidario, an organization focused in Education and Health. He is also known for his work in the areas of Social Medicine and as the author of GNU Health, a health and hospital information management system.

Luis Falcón Martín
Luis Falcon at WSIS Forum, Geneva 2013.png
Luis Falcon at the World Summit on the Information Society Forum in Geneva, May 2013
Born (1970-09-03) 3 September 1970 (age 50)
Las Palmas, Spain
Alma materCalifornia State University, Northridge
OccupationComputer scientist,
Known forGNU Solidario, GNU Health


Luis Falcón was born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, in 1970. He graduated from California State University, Northridge in 1996 with a degree in computer science, and from Instituto Universitario de Ciencias de la Salud (IUCS) medical school in Argentina. In 2009, he founded GNU Solidario, a non-profit organization that focuses on health and education with free software.[1]

GNU Solidario: Free Software in Health and EducationEdit

Falcon defends the adoption of Free Software in the public administration. GNU Solidario, the organization that he founded in 2009, works for the universality of public health and education.

In his speech Free Software as a Catalyst for Liberation, Social Justice and Social Medicine,[2] he defines Free Software as a movement, as a philosophy, and as a way of activism. To him, the use of proprietary software in the public administration is a contradiction by definition.[3]

Public EducationEdit

Luis Falcon in Santiago del Estero school 2006

The initial projects that Luis Falcon started were related to Public Education.

After observing the reality of many of the children on these schools, he incorporates Social Medicine to the project, to improve the socio-economic determinants of health on the communities. He conceives education and health as the basis for development and dignity of societies.


In 2010, Falcon organized the first International Workshop on eHealth in Emerging Economies - IWEEE - in an effort to congregate different organizations to share their experiences and to try to find ways to improve the lives of millions of human beings from the developing world. IWEEE is a non-technical conference, where academic institutions, humanitarian organizations and social collectives get together to present and debate about social issues, Medicine and eHealth.

Since its first event in 2010, IWEEE has hosted humanitarian, multilateral organizations, such as United Nations Development Programme,[4]Red Cross,[5][6] War Child,[7] World Health Organization, Médecins Sans Frontières,[8] United Nations University International Institute for Global Health,[9] or Caritas Internationalis, as well as research institutions, like the European Bioinformatics Institute[10] and universities.

Public Health and Social MedicineEdit

Luis Falcon and Mohamed Salleh at the ceremony after signing the agreement between United Nations University International Institute for Global Health and GNU Solidario

Falcón defends the public health model, and universality of healthcare. He conceives health as a "non-negotiable human right".[11] .[12] He believes in the adoption of free software in the public sector. In one interview, Falcón declared "I encourage people to ask their politicians to adopt free software in the healthcare sector, because health is a public good. And thus, all health information systems should be based on free software. Public health and proprietary software are antagonistic".[13]

He follows the idea of Rudolf Virchow, about the concept of Medicine being a Social Science. Falcon coins Virchow's aphorism, "Medicine is a social science, and politics is nothing else but medicine on a large scale".

GNU HealthEdit

Following his experience in rural and underprivileged areas in South America, he starts thinking on Free Software could help health professionals and authorities to improve the public health system. Those ideas and reflections led him to create GNU Health.

Luis Falcón defines GNU Health as a "Social Project with some technology behind".[14]

GNU Health was the first Free Software project that clearly focused on Public Health and Social Medicine. On November 11, 2011, Luis Falcón, president of GNU Solidario and Mohamed Salleh, director of United Nations University, Institute for Global health signed an agreement to deploy GNU Health Hospital and Information System globally, particularly in the developing countries.[15]

In 2012, the Ministry of Health of Jamaica decided to adopt and customize GNU Health as their national health electronic record. As they mentioned in the National Health Information System Strengthening and e-Health Strategic Plan 2014-2018 document,[16] the goal is to "Implement, on a phased basis, GNU Health Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) as the new national electronic Patient Administration System (ePAS) for public hospitals and health centres".

Falcón believes that the university must be a key player in not only teaching Health Informatics and Social Medicine to their students, but as a crucial actor in outreaching the community and spreading the value of Free Software in public administration in general, and in Public Health in particular.[17]

The United Nations University, International Institute for Global Health has conducted training for health professionals from different countries. The article cites that participants were mostly from the Ministry of Health of Malaysia and Indonesia, public and private hospitals, universities as well as non-governmental organizations.[18] The University of Entre Ríos has been one of the early adopters of GNU Health, both in teaching health informatics with Free Software to students and health professionals,[19][20] and in implementing the GNU Health in different health institutions in Argentina.[21]

Animal RightsEdit

Luis Falcón is also an animal rights activist. In an interview on Ethical Magazine, he said that "A society is sick when enslaves, tortures and kills other species".[22]

In his keynote speech in the 12th International Symposium in Open Collaboration, OpenSym 2016 in Berlin, he declared that Dairy and Meat industry are not only inhumane and extremely cruel, but also unhealthy and negative for the environment.[23]

In July 2020, Luis Falcón was among a group of scientists and academics who co-signed an open letter to various international regulatory bodies to stop the use of animal models in medical research.[24]


Falcon with Richard Stallman at Libreplanet 2012

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Luis Falcon Martin". Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  2. ^ "Free Software as a catalyst for Liberation, Social Justice and Social Medicine". Free Software Foundation. 24 March 2018.
  3. ^ "Success of GNU Health goes beyond free software". 12 March 2013.
  4. ^ Zambrano, Raúl (10 January 2010). Information & Communications Technology (ICTs) and Human Development: Fostering Social Inclusion (pdf). International Workshop on eHealth in Emerging Economies - IWEEE 2010 -. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
  5. ^ Jorge, Valera (30 May 2014). Humanitarian Logistics Centre (pdf). VII International Workshop on eHealth in Emerging Economies. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
  6. ^ Pérez Rodríguez, Carmen (20 November 2016). Institutional and Technical Strengthening of African Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (pdf). IX IWEEE / GNUHealthCon 2016 -. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
  7. ^ de Jager, Ans (10 January 2010). Introducción de las TICs y e-learning en campos de refugiados en zonas remotas del norte de Uganda: Éxitos y Retos (pdf). International Workshop on eHealth in Emerging Economies - IWEEE 2010 -. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
  8. ^ Sagrado, María José (26 September 2015). Improving information for better health (pdf). International Workshop on eHealth in Emerging Economies - IWEEE 2015 -. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
  9. ^ Salleh, Mohamed (11 January 2012). The Role of UNU-IIGH in Research & Capacity Building for Free Software in Developing Countries (pdf). International Workshop on eHealth in Emerging Economies - IWEEE 2012 -. Granada.
  10. ^ Martin, Maria (24 January 2017). The role of public biological databases in health bioinformatics (pdf). International Workshop on eHealth in Emerging Economies - IWEEE 2017 -. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
  11. ^ "Un software sanitario libre con ADN canario se extiende por tres continentes". El (in Spanish). 13 September 2015.
  12. ^ "El Software Libre no se mancha" (in Spanish). 11 November 2017.
  13. ^ "Success of GNU Health goes beyond free software". 12 March 2013.
  14. ^ "GNU Health as a catalyst for Liberation, Social Justice and Social Medicine". Free Software Foundation. 24 March 2018.
  15. ^ "MOU between IIGH and GNU Solidario to deploy GNU Health globally". UNU-IIGH. 11 November 2011. Archived from the original on 4 May 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  16. ^ "the National Health Information System Strengthening and e-Health Strategic Plan" (PDF). Jamaica Ministry of Health. 18 September 2014.
  17. ^ "Luis Falcon speech at Harvard / MIT HST.936 Global Health Informatics to Improve Quality of Care". MIT. 27 February 2015.
  18. ^ "Approach to teach Hospital Information System using Open Source Software". S.M. Motahar et al. 2013. doi:10.1016/j.protcy.2013.12.322.
  19. ^ "Primera Escuela de Verano GNU HEALTH". Universidad Nacional de Entre Rios (in Spanish). 1 January 2018.
  20. ^ "Personal de Salud Municipal se capacita en sistema informático GNU Health". Municipalidad de Diamante (in Spanish). 14 April 2016.
  21. ^ "Inicia la digitalización de historias clínicas en Diamante". El Once (in Spanish). 23 June 2016.
  22. ^ "Entrevista a Luis Falcón". Ethical Magazine (in Spanish). 26 March 2012. Archived from the original on 28 June 2018. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  23. ^ "The International Symposium in Open Collaboration". OpenSYM. August 2016.
  24. ^ "A Call to Accelerate Human-focussed Medical Research". Animal Free Research UK. July 2020.
  25. ^ "2011 Free Software Awards announced". Free Software Foundation. 26 March 2012. Archived from the original on 18 April 2015. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ "Conoce a los ganadores de los Open Awards 2019". Open Expo Europe. 20 June 2019.

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