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Prof. Jaakko Tuomilehto


MD, MA (sociology), PhD, FRCP(Edin), FESC

Professor Jaakko Tuomilehto is Professor Emeritus of Public Health of University of Helsinki, Finland. His past affiliations include World Health Organization, University of Kuopio in Finland, National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki Danube-University Krems in Austria, Dasman Diabetes Institute in Kuwait. His research interests include the epidemiology and prevention of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. He has coordinated numerous scientific research projects and contributed many landmark studies and involved in epidemiological studies in many countries. He initiated the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study (DPS) that demonstrated a 58% reduction in incidence type 2 diabetes (T2D) with lifestyle intervention. This finding was later confirmed by similar trials from many countries, including USA and India. These experiences were used to design and the first-ever national diabetes prevention program in Finland. He developed a simple, non-laboratory T2D risk score FINDRISC (FINnish Diabetes RIsk Score) that has been validated and applied widely in Europe and elsewhere. 


He was the Principal Investigator of the WHO DIAMOND Project mapping the incidence of childhood T1D worldwide during the 1990s including >100 countries. He also established the DECODE/DECODA (Diabetes Epidemiology-Collaborative analysis of Diagnostic Criteria in Europe/Asia) studies that have assessed the glucose criteria for the diagnosis of diabetes and the importance of postprandial glucose for detection and prognosis of disturbances of glucose regulation. He has contributed to many controlled trials in hypertension, dyslipidaemia, cardiovascular disease. 


He has been involved in studies attempting to find out the role of genetic factors in chronic disease aetiology. The main focus of his genetic studies has been on diabetes and cardiovascular risk factors, but his research has also included other chronic diseases such as rheumatic disorders. The most prominent study is the FUSION (Finland-United States Investigation of Non-insulin dependent diabetes genetics) that has been carried out with NIH and several US universities for the last 25 years.


He has received many prestigious scientific awards, including among others the European Association of the Study of Diabetes Claude Bernard Award and Camillo Golgi Award, American Diabetes Association  Kelly West Award on diabetes epidemiology and Harold Rifkin Award on international diabetes work, Peter Bennett Diabetes Epidemiology Award, UNESCO–Hellmut Mehnert Diabetes Award, American Heart Association Frederick H. Epstein Memorial Lecture Award and David Kritchevsky Award, Grand Hamdan International Diabetes Research Award, Khwarizmi International Award, Karolinska Institute Folksam Prize in epidemiological research, G.B. Morgagni Prize on metabolic disease research, Menarini-JJ Hoet Award on Diabetes Prevention, European Society of Cardiology Geoffrey Rose Award on cardiovascular population studies.


He has been acting as a member several American Diabetes Association (ADA), International Diabetes Federation (IDF), European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and WHO committees on diabetes and cardiovascular disease. He is actively involved in several other committees, and advisory boards nationally and internationally and has been chairing multiple scientific organisations. Currently he serves as the Editor-in-Chief of Primary Care Diabetes journal and Editorial Board member in many other scientific journals. 


He has been invited as a keynote lecturer in numerous international conferences and scientific meetings. He has been a faculty member in many international postgraduate training courses on diabetes and cardiovascular disease in many parts of the world. He has trained over 80 doctoral fellows, many of them have been appointed to highly recognised positions. He has contributed to over 1800 scientific peer-reviewed publications and is among the most cited authors in the field of diabetes worldwide (Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher) with >160,000 citations. His h-index is 177. In the recent citation analysis by Google Scholar he is globally the most cited person in 4 topics: diabetes, cardiovascular disease, public health, and epidemiology.

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