Alfred Sommer awarded prestigious Pollin Prize

Alfred Sommer, MD, MHS, dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, is this year's recipient of the prestigious Pollin Prize for Pediatric Research. Dr. Sommer's groundbreaking discoveries led to the widespread use of inexpensive vitamin A supplements that reduced childhood mortality by 34 percent in the developing world, saving millions of children's lives. The World Bank ranked vitamin A supplementation among the most cost-effective health intervention in all of medicine. Dr. Sommer will be presented with the Pollin Prize at a reception at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City on December 17, 2004.

The Pollin Prize, which recognizes outstanding achievement in pediatric research, includes a $100,000 research award for the honoree and a $100,000 fellowship stipend awarded by the recipient to a young investigator working in a related area. Dr. Sommer selected Parul Christian, DrPH, an associate professor with the Bloomberg School's Department of International Health and Center for Human Nutrition. For the past decade, Dr. Christian has explored new links between the nutritional deficiencies of mothers and increased infant mortality in the developing world. Recently, she has been working in Bangladesh and Nepal on studies examining the improvements in infant survival with maternal vitamin A and beta-carotene supplementation and maternal supplementation of multiple micronutrients.

"It is a great honor to receive the Pollin Prize and to be recognized for my role in improving the health of children. However, there is much more to be done," said Dr. Sommer. "More than 10 million children die worldwide each year and the underlying cause of many of these deaths is malnutrition. I applaud efforts like the Pollin Prize that assist and encourage a new generation of researchers, like Parul Christian, to pursue the important discoveries that will continue to save the lives of millions of children around the world."

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Contact: Tim Parsons
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

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