Pearce elected as Epidemiology President

Professor Neil Pearce, Director of the Centre for Public Health Research, has been elected President of the International Epidemiology Association (IEA) at the recent World Congress of Epidemiology in Bangkok.

Epidemiology is the scientific study of factors affecting the health and illness of populations.

The Association is the only global organisation of epidemiologists, and has members in more than 100 countries. It publishes the International Journal of Epidemiology, and has published the widely used Dictionary of Epidemiology.

It also conducts training courses, promotes epidemiology as a scientific discipline, and comments on issues that are of concern to epidemiologists including problems of funding, ethical issues, access to data, and access to appropriate training.

The association was celebrating its 50th anniversary at the Bangkok meeting. Professor Pearce is the first president of the association from the Southern Hemisphere. He will be president-elect for three years, before assuming the presidency at the next World Congress of Epidemiology in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in 2008.

The IEA was originally founded in England in 1955, and for many years was centred on Europe and North America, says Professor Pearce.

However, we are now particularly interested in building the work of the association in developing countries, while maintaining and supporting its current activities in Europe and North America. This trend is reflected in the fact that the meeting was in Bangkok, and that the next meeting will be in Brazil. It is not just a matter of enrolling more members in these regions, but also about shifting the 'centre of gravity' of the association in a direction that will make it more truly international.

My particular interest is the training of epidemiologists in developing countries. We plan to start an IEA international educational programme in epidemiology, which will run training courses throughout 'the South', he says.


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