Published: 14-09-2011 00:00 | Updated: 07-07-2014 11:15

Finnish public health pioneer rewarded by Folksam

This year's Folksam Prize for Epidemiological Research is to be presented to Jaakko Tuomilehto, professor of public health at Helsinki University and one of the pioneers of the prophylactic measures that are now routine for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The prize is worth 100,000 SEK and is to be awarded in conjunction with Karolinska Institutet's installation ceremony in the Berwald Hall on 8 November 2011.

Professor Tuomilehto was one of the scientists involved in the Norra Karelen project of the 1970s, the world's first population-based preventative healthcare programme for cardiovascular patients within a geographical healthcare area. He was particularly interested in hypertension and his research forms the basis of the modern evidence-based treatment of patients with high blood pressure.

In the 1980s, he was also one of the first to draw medical attention to the burgeoning diabetes epidemic and to how weight-loss and exercise could reduce the incidence of the disease.

"Professor Tuomilehto's contributions to medical science have received widespread international recognition and helped to promote the importance of prophylaxis in the reduction of cardiovascular disease and diabetes," says award panel chairperson and KI professor Anders Ahlbom.

The Folksam Prize for Epidemiological Research is awarded to internationally outstanding researchers engaged in scientific work in which epidemiological material is used for the purposes of prevention in the field of public health. Prize winners are selected by a panel of judges appointed by Karolinska Institutet.