Tag Archives: World Health Organization

ICDDRB Board of Trustees appoints Dr. Richard Smith as Chair

Board of Trustees appoints Dr. Richard Smith as Chair


21 June 2013 – icddr,b is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Richard Smith as the new chair of its board. The appointment was made following the meeting of icddr,b’s board of trustees in Dhaka on 15 and 16 June. Dr. Smith takes over from Dr. Elizabeth Mason who has stepped down due to her on-going commitments at the World Health Organization, but will remain a board member.

“I feel honoured to be associated with icddr,b – it is a remarkable institution.” said Dr. Smith while addressing staff. “iccdr,b has made a major contribution to improving the health of people in Bangladesh and other low income countries, and I’m confident it can do still more.”

Dr. Smith is a medical doctor with a long, distinguished and recognised career in public health and medical publishing. He is best known for his pioneering work at the BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) where he served as editor, and as chief executive of the BMJ Publishing Group. In January 2000, he was awarded a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) for his services to medical journalism.

Dr. Smith is currently director of UnitedHealth’s Chronic Disease Initiative, having served as chief executive of UnitedHealth Europe from 2004-2007. Together with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (one of the U.S. National Institutes of Health) the initiative funds 11 centres in low and middle income countries doing research and building capacity on non-communicable disease (NCD).

An alumnus of Edinburgh University, Dr. Smith is an honorary fellow of several distinguished colleges, including the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, the Royal College of Physicians of London, the Faculty of Public Health Medicine, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and Kasturba Medical College, Karnataka, India. He is an adjunct professor at Imperial College Institute for Global Health Innovation and a  professor at the University of Warwick.

Dr. Smith has considerable experience of boards having served on many, including those of the Public Library of Science, St George’s, University of London, and the United Kingdom Research Integrity Office. He is currently chair of Patients Know Best, a company that provides patient controlled records, and the Cochrane Library Oversight Committee.

Dr. Smith has served  as a member of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and is a founder member of both the World Association of Medical Journal Editors and the Committee on Publication Ethics.

Over the past 30 years Dr. Smith has lectured and led seminars and workshops around the globe. He is particularly well known for his writing clinics. His research papers on peer review, conflict of interest, and other publishing topics have been published in JAMA, BMJ, Canadian Medical Association Journal, and Medical Journal of Australia.

In addition to his academic pursuits, Dr. Smith has extensive experience in fundraising and management. His degree in management science from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University, California is sure to benefit icddr,b as it continues to build the capacity required to operationalise its current strategic plan.

Always eager to take advantage of new technology, Dr. Smith is an avid proponent of social media, and blogs regularly for the BMJ. You can follow him on Twitter at Richard56


(This news item has been taken from the icddr,b website link: http://www.icddrb.org/media-centre/news/4130-board-of-trustees-appoints-dr-richard-smith-as-chair for further dissemination. This service is given following an e-mail message containing  weekly bulletin of the icddr,b was received )

icddr,b contributes to largest global study on diarrhoeal diseases in developing countries

28 May 2013 – icddr,b has contributed to a new international study that provides the clearest picture yet of the impact and most common causes of diarrhoeal diseases, which kill 800,000 children annually. The Global Enteric Multicenter Study (GEMS) is the largest study ever conducted on diarrhoeal diseases in developing countries, enrolling more than 20,000 children from seven sites across Asia and Africa. The findings of the study were recently published in The Lancet and provide guidelines on prevention, treatment and research on childhood diarrhoeal diseases.

The GEMS study in Bangladesh was conducted in Mirzapur, a sub-district just north of Dhaka, by icddr,b’s Centre for Nutrition & Food Security.  “Better information is critical to changing the way we fight diarrhoeal diseases,” said Dr. A.S.G. Faruque, Principal Investigator at the Bangladesh trial site. “GEMS shows us clearly how we can target our approach and where we need to invest our resources to make a difference.”

Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, GEMS was a case control study conducted at seven diverse, high-burden sites in Asia and Africa: the Gambia, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. The study enrolled 22,569 children under five years of age –  a sample size that is large enough to provide comprehensive data on the causes, incidence and impact of the range of diarrhoeal diseases affecting children around the world. GEMS established a network of well-equipped laboratories in the study countries that can be used to accelerate future research on diarrhoea and other child health priorities.

Rotavirus:  a leading cause of infant diarrhoeal diseases

Coordinated by the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Center for Vaccine Development, GEMS confirmed rotavirus – for which a vaccine already exists – as the leading cause of diarrhoeal diseases among infants and identified other top causes for which additional research is urgently needed. GEMS found that approximately one in five children under the age of two suffer from MSD each year, which increased children’s risk of death by eight-and-a-half times and lead to stunted growth over a two-month follow-up period.

Shigella, a type of bacteria, caused the largest number of infections in toddlers and older children. Unlike at sites in Africa, Aeromonas – another type of bacteria – was the third leading cause of MSD, confirming its regional importance as a pathogen. Linear growth delays were significant among children in all age groups in the two months following their MSD episode, and a single episode of MSD increased children’s risk of death more than twelvefold over the same period.

Despite many causes, GEMS found that targeting just four pathogens could prevent the majority of MSD cases.  Expanding access to vaccines for rotavirus could save hundreds of thousands of lives. Likewise, GEMS data suggests that accelerating research on vaccines, diagnostics and treatments for the three other leading pathogens – Shigella, Cryptosporidium and ST-ETEC (a type of E. coli) – could have a similar impact.

“The GEMS findings help set priorities for investments that could greatly reduce the burden of childhood diarrhoeal diseases,” said Dr. Thomas Brewer, deputy director of the Enteric & Diarrheal Diseases team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Longer-term monitoring and expansion of interventions can save lives

The GEMS findings also suggest that longer-term monitoring and care of children with diarrhoeal diseases could reduce mortality and developmental delays. Children with MSD grew significantly less in height in the two months following the diarrhoeal episode when compared with control children without diarrhoea, and were eight-and-a-half times more likely to die over the course of the two-month follow-up period. Notably, 61 percent of deaths occurred more than a week after the initial diarrhoeal episode, with 56 percent of deaths happening after families had returned home from a healthcare facility.

Expanding access to existing interventions that protect against or treat all diarrhoeal diseases –  including oral rehydration solutions, zinc supplements and clean water and sanitation- can save lives and improve the health of children immediately.

The GEMS findings add to the scientific evidence cited in the first-ever Integrated Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD) recently announced by the World Health Organization and UNICEF. The GAPPD strategy calls for effectively controlling pneumonia and diarrhoea, which together are the two leading causes of death among young children globally.

For more details please contact Senior Manager Communications Nasmeen Ahmed


(The article has been published for further dissemination of ICDDR,B achievements taken from the link: http://www.icddrb.org/media-centre/news/4125-icddrb-contributes-to-largest-global-study-on-diarrhoeal-diseases-in-developing-countries of the website of this international organization located in Bangladesh)

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ICDDR,B Welcomes New Executive Director, Dr. John Clemens

ICDDR,B  is pleased to announce the arrival of its new Executive Director, Dr. John Clemens, who took over the leadership of the Dhaka-based public health research institution on 01 April 2013.

Dr. Clemens, an expert in vaccine development and evaluation in developing countries, with a career spanning academia, government and international organisations, was appointed Executive Director of ICDDR,B by its international Board of Trustees.

A former research scientist at ICDDR,B from 1983-1988, Dr. Clemens will transition from his current position as Professor and Vice-Chairman of Epidemiology and founding Director of the Center for Global Infectious Diseases at the University of California, Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health to take up the new post.

Dr. Clemen’s previous roles include Chief of Epidemiology at the Center for Vaccine Development at the University of Maryland, and Chief of the Epidemiology Branch and Director of the World Health Organization International Collaborating Center for the Clinical Evaluation of Vaccines in Developing Countries at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the US National Institutes of Health. In 1999, Dr. Clemens became the founding Director-General of the International Vaccine Institute in Seoul, Korea, where he served until 2011.

As a scientist, Dr. Clemens’ research has focused on generating the evidence required for policy decisions about vaccine introduction in developing world populations, and innovative approaches to evaluating their effectiveness. He led the team that developed the first low-cost oral vaccine against cholera, which has recently deployed in Haiti, Guinea, Thailand, and Sierra Leone, and which is now being piloted in Dhaka. In 2010, he was awarded the prestigious Sabin Gold Medal in recognition of his work.

Dr. Clemens has published more than 350 peer-reviewed papers, and serves on the editorial boards of several international journals. He is an elected member of the American Epidemiology Society and a Fellow of both the American College of Epidemiology and the Infectious Disease Society of America. A member of multiple WHO expert advisory committees, Dr. Clemens is a graduate of Stanford (BS) and Yale (MD) Universities.  He received his internal medicine training at Case Western Reserve University and his post-doctoral research training in clinical epidemiology as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at Yale University.

Commenting on the new appointment, Dr. Elizabeth Mason, Chair of ICDDR,B’s Board of Trustees, said: “John Clemens is an outstanding individual who is admired and respected in his field. The Board has every confidence that he will continue to build ICDDR,B’s reputation as a leading pubic health institution, committed to generating and translating knowledge into practice and policy”.

Dr. Abbas Bhuiya, who has served as ICDDR,B’s Interim Executive Director since July 2012, commented: “This is an exciting time to be leading ICDDR,B, and John Clemens is an excellent choice. He brings vision, experience, and an international reputation to the role. I wish him every success”.

“Working in ICDDR,B in the 1980’s had a profound effect on my early career, and I am absolutely thrilled to be returning as its Executive Director,” said Dr. Clemens. “At a time of rapid change, I am committed to ensuring that ICDDR,B continues to contribute to debates, and to shape public health policy, not just here in Bangladesh, but globally”.

(Based on ICDDR,B link http://www.icddrb.org/media-centre/news/4112-icddrb-welcomes-new-executive-director)