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 Associationâs (AHA) Scientific Sessions, Sunday, Nov. 4, in Orlando, FL.
In presenting the award, AHA President Daniel W. Jones said, âDr. 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.â
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 Wheltonâs leadership in identifying ways to prevent and treat high blood pressure without the use of drugs. Wheltonâs 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.