Cesar Victora named winner of 2021 Richard Doll Prize in Epidemiology

Cesar Victora, Emeritus Professor of Universidade Federal de Pelotas, Brazil, and Director, International Center for Equity in Health, has been named the winner of the 2021 Richard Doll Prize in Epidemiology.

The Richard Doll Prize is awarded by IEA in commemoration of Richard Doll’s legacy and his achievements in epidemiology. The prize is for a body of scientific research in epidemiology that has advanced understanding of conditions that are important for population health.

Victora's research has driven global policies on breastfeeding, child nutrition and inequalities in health. He has applied and advanced epidemiological methods to maternal and child health, initially in his home country and later in dozens of low and middle-income countries. His studies in the 1980s led to the discovery of the importance of exclusive breastfeeding for infant survival, which shaped World Health Organization policies in 1991. His leading role in the creation of the WHO Child Growth Standards led to growth curves that are now used in over 140 countries. He leads the Pelotas Birth Cohort Studies (1982, 1993, 2004 and 2015) which have made major contributions to recognition of the importance of early nutrition for adult health and human capital. More recently, he became a global leader in the study of inequalities in maternal and child health, and his team provides global analyses that are widely used by international organizations.

Having opted to remain in Brazil throughout his career, he has honorary appointments at Oxford University, Harvard University and Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. He is a member of the editorial board of many journals, including The Lancet. In Brazil, he founded the Post-Graduate Program in Epidemiology at the Federal University of Pelotas, a remote location without any research activity until the 1980s and led this program to become the top-ranked program in the Ministry of Education’s scoring system for over 80 Public Health programs in the country.