Chicago scientist honored for trials documenting CVD burden

November 04, 2007

ORLANDO, Nov. 4 -- The American Heart Association awarded its Population Research Prize to Paul K. Whelton, M.D., of Loyola University in Chicago, for pioneering population trials that are the informational basis for much of today's fight against cardiovascular diseases.

"For more than two decades, 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," said Daniel Jones, M.D., president of the American Heart Association.

Jones presented the annual $5,000 award for outstanding population research during the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2007 at the Orange County Convention Center.

Jones said data compiled by Whelton "have brought into sharp focus the extent of 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 these diseases."

Whelton's contributions include the first worldwide estimates of the prevalence of hypertension.

Beginning in the 1980s, Whelton's research "generated compelling evidence" that high blood pressure and diabetes are risk factors for renal disease, Jones said.

Whelton has also led in identifying non-pharmacologic approaches for preventing and treating high blood pressure. He chaired the two largest lifestyle intervention trials for hypertension prevention.

After medical training in his native Ireland, Whelton served on the faculty of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and School of Public Health in Baltimore. He was also dean of the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans before becoming president and chief executive officer of the Loyola University Health System in Chicago.
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American Heart Association

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