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Dr. Prabhat Jha, global health researcher, appointed to Order of Canada

TORONTO, June 29, 2012---Dr. Prabhat Jha, head of the Centre for Global Health Research at St. Michael's Hospital, has been appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada, one of the country's highest civilian honours.

Dr. Jha, who is also a professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, was honoured for services to global health and epidemiology.

"I'm especially proud to receive this award because it recognizes the transformative power of epidemiological research to reduce premature deaths worldwide," he said.

"Death rates in Canada and other developing counties have dropped because research has identified risk factors such as smoking and widely useful interventions such as treatment of heart attacks. Exporting this knowledge and research is the single biggest thing we can to do improve global health."

Dr. Jha advises various governments around the world on disease control strategies. He is the principal investigator of the Million Death Study, one of the largest studies of premature deaths in the world. In India, where the study is based, most people die at home, especially in rural areas, and without medical attention. As a result, their deaths, like most in the developing world, have no certifiable cause and are invisible to the public health system and society at large. "When you count the dead, the dead count," Dr. Jha says.

An officer is the second of three levels of membership in the Order, which was created in 1967, Canada's centennial year. A maximum of 64 people are appointed to this category each year. The Officer of the Order of Canada recognizes a lifetime of achievement and merit of a high degree, especially in service to Canada or to humanity at large. It is equivalent to the government of India's "Padma Bushan" award.

"Prabhat's appointment to the Order of Canada underscores St. Michael's commitment to world-leading research that advances health for all, especially the poorest populations, both here in Toronto and around the world," said Dr. Robert Howard, president and CEO of St. Michael's Hospital.

Dr. Jha will be invested into the Order by Gov. Gen. David Johnston at a ceremony to be held at a later date at Rideau Hall.

Provided by St. Michael's Hospital