Ophthalmologist and epidemiologist Alfred Sommer has been appointed dean of the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health. His new position began on September 1.

Sommer is recognized for his research showing that even small, inexpensive doses of vitamin A can save children's lives. This discovery came in 1983, while Sommer was working in Indonesia and other developing countries, using vitamin A to prevent blindness in malnourished children. "[I] quite accidentally recognized," says Sommer, "that even mild vitamin A deficiency was associated with a substantially increased risk of death in young children."

One of Sommer's primary goals is to bring about greater awareness of public health. "Public health encompasses just about everything clever that we do in the business of obtaining, maintaining, and regaining health," he says. "It's important that people recognize that. I think it's underestimated by the general public, by Congress, and by our own colleagues."...

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