Global Health Vision Lecture Series
Sponsored by National Eye Institute, Fogarty International Center, and the NIH Global Health Interest Group
Date: Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Time: 12 - 1 PM
Location: Natcher Conference Center (Building 45, Balcony A, NIH Campus)
Watch the archived videocast at http://videocast.nih.gov/launch.asp?18758.
Prof. Alfred Sommer, M.D.
Dean Emeritus, Bloomberg School of Public Health, and University
Distinguished Service Professor
Johns Hopkins University
“Global Health” is the new buzz phrase for traditional public health writ large. It encompasses everything from acute infectious diseases to chronic maladies, all of which can become border-crossing epidemics of microbial or behavioral origin. Dr. Alfred Sommer, Dean Emeritus of the Bloomberg School of Public Health, and University Distinguished Service Professor of Epidemiology, Ophthalmology and International Health at Johns Hopkins University, has spent a lifetime crossing national boundaries and medical disciplines. He will discuss some of his more memorable interactions, and their present day relevance, ranging from the containment of infectious epidemics to the prevention and treatment of blinding diseases.
Dr. Sommer is professor of Epidemiology, Ophthalmology and International Health at Johns Hopkins, and was dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health from 1990-2005. His research interests include outcomes assessment, child survival, epidemiology of visual disorders, glaucoma, vitamin A deficiency, blindness prevention strategies, cost-benefit analysis, the growing interface between medicine and public health, and clinical guidelines. His long-term, continuing research involves the cause, magnitude, consequences, and control of deficiencies in vitamin A and related micronutrients. In a series of trials conducted in Indonesia (1976-1980), Sommer and his research team discovered that vitamin A deficiency is more common than previously recognized, and that even mild vitamin A deficiency dramatically increases childhood mortality rates, primarily from increased susceptibility to infectious diseases such as measles and diarrhea. In parallel studies, he and colleagues found a link between vitamin A deficiency and measles-associated pediatric blindness. Moving from science to practice, Sommer next showed that the debilitating consequences of vitamin A deficiency could be effectively, quickly, and cheaply treated with oral high-dose vitamin A supplementation. As a result, the World Bank declared vitamin A supplementation one of the most cost-effective of all health interventions. The latest research by Dr. Sommer and his colleagues has shown that supplementing Nepalese women of childbearing age with vitamin A or beta-carotene can reduce maternal mortality by an average of 45 percent, and newborn vitamin A supplementation can reduce neonatal mortality by 20 percent. Dr. Sommer has received numerous honors and awards from organizations around the world for his ground breaking contribution to global health.
For more information about the lecture, contact: Dr. Gyan “John” Prakash, Associate Director for International Program Activities, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Global Health Vision Lecture (GHVLS) was established by the National Eye Institute Office of International Program Activities in 2012. The office invites leading scientists and clinicians from around the world who have made significant contribution to the field of global health, prevention of blindness and promotion of international research collaboration.