‘Insights into Global Health’ topic of 2008 Global Health Day lecture at WVU

Johns Hopkins professor Dr. Alfred Sommer to give presentation

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Alfred Sommer, M.D., professor and dean emeritus of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, will speak on “Insights into Global Health” as part of Global Health Day Nov. 14 in the West Virginia University Health Sciences Learning Center. Sommer is an expert in third world pediatric issues including prevention of blindness.

The lecture is scheduled for noon in Room 1905 of the Learning Center. The event is open to the public. The talk is sponsored by the WVU Global Health Program in partnership with the Department of Community Medicine’s Public Health Program.

“It is an honor and a privilege to have someone of Dr. Alfred Sommer’s caliber visiting WVU.
Dr. Sommer’s extensive research makes the difference that will bridge the gap between medicine and public health,” said Rachel Abraham, M.D., who directs the WVU Office for Public Health Practice and the continuing education for the Department of Community Medicine.

Dr. Sommer received his medical degree from Harvard and his master’s degree in epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University. He is professor of epidemiology, international health and ophthalmology, and he is founding director of the Dana Center of Preventive Ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins, which focuses on clinical epidemiology and the public health aspects of blindness prevention and child survival.

In 1997, he received the Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award, which honors those whose efforts have improved the clinical treatment of patients. Sommer received the Lasker Award, which is considered to be the Nobel Prize equivalent of American medicine, for his influential research on vitamin A deficiency on childhood blindness and mortality in third world countries. In 2004, Sommer also received the Pollin Prize in Pediatric Research, a prestigious award for medical research.

Sommer has published five books and 250 scientific articles. He has received the Charles A. Dana Award for Pioneering Achievements in Health; the Joseph E. Smadel Award for the Infectious Diseases Society of America; the American Public Health Association's Distinguished Service Award for Contributions to Vision Care; the Award for Distinguished Contributions to World Ophthalmology from the XXIV International Congress of Ophthalmology; the Gold Medal of the Saudi Ophthalmological Society; and is the first recipient of the GVF Prize of the German Association of Applied Vitamin Research.

He is also the namesake of the Hopkins Sommer Scholars, a scholarship program created in 1994 for future leaders in public health.

In addition, Sommer is a member of both the National Academy of Sciences and its Institute of Medicine.

The Global Health Program, formerly known as the International Health Program, was established in 1991 as an interdisciplinary program at WVU. The program is student-centered and its major activities promote education of students and all professionals in global health.


For more information:
Angela Jones, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
asj: 11-07-08

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