Monday, November 5, 2007

Loyola's President & CEO Wins National Population Research Prize for Pioneering Work in Hypertension

Paul K. Whelton called “one of the world’s leading population-based cardiovascular scientists”

(MAYWOOD) November 5, 2007 - Loyola University Health System President and CEO Paul Whelton, MB, MD, MSc, has been awarded the American Heart Association's 2007 Population Research Prize for his 20 years of work that answered key questions about the scope and severity of heart and vascular diseases and their risk to populations worldwide.

The award was presented at the opening session of the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Scientific Sessions, Sunday, Nov. 4, in Orlando, FL.

In presenting the award, AHA President Daniel W. Jones said, “Dr. Whelton has directed highly significant longitudinal, cross-sectional and interventional studies that are providing medical science vital data on the burden of disease facing populations in the United States, Southeast Asia, North Africa and South America. These data have brought into sharp focus the problem that heart and blood vessel diseases pose, and have sketched a useful blueprint for preventive actions that can be taken to reduce risk and eventually conquer them.”

Much of what the scientific community currently knows about the prevalence of hypertension worldwide is owing to Whelton and his colleagues. Recently, Whelton and his team produced the first set of worldwide estimates on the extent of the disease and published the first national estimates of causes of death in China.

Further, Whelton is considered a pioneer in the use of longitudinal studies to explore the relationship between blood pressure and both chronic and end-stage kidney disease. His work to identify the roles that high blood pressure and diabetes play as risk factors for kidney disease began in the 1980s.

AHA President Jones also singled out Whelton’s leadership in identifying ways to prevent and treat high blood pressure without the use of drugs. Whelton’s work in this area included the two largest-ever lifestyle-intervention trials and national recommendations for prevention of hypertension produced while he led a committee for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Whelton continues to conduct innovative, population-based trials that examine the roles of nutrition and physical activity in preventing and treating hypertension.

Whelton became president and CEO of Loyola University Health System in February 2007, after leaving the Tulane University, New Orleans, where he had served as senior vice president for health sciences and dean of the school of medicine. He came to the United States in 1970 to begin an internship at Johns Hopkins University Hospital after receiving his medical and science training at the University College Cork in his native Ireland. He rose to become a tenured professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health and a professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He joined Tulane in 1977 as a professor of biostatistics and epidemiology and ascended to his senior administrative role before taking his place at Loyola earlier this year.

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is part of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. Loyola University Medical Center’s campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of Chicago’s Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. At the heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is a national Catholic health system with an enduring legacy and a steadfast mission to be a transforming and healing presence within the communities we serve. Trinity is committed to being a people-centered health care system that enables better health, better care and lower costs. Trinity Health has 88 hospitals and hundreds of continuing care facilities, home care agencies and outpatient centers in 21 states and 119,000 employees.