As part of the World Health Day 2016 diabetes awareness initiatives, The World Health Organization has featured an interview with Dr. K.M. Venkat Narayan, professor in the Hubert Department of Global Health and director of the Emory Global Diabetes Research Center at Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. The interview is available in the April 1 edition of Bulletin of the World Health Organization.
The World Health Organization chose to focus on diabetes for World Health Day 2016 on April 7 with the overall goal of increasing awareness about the rise in diabetes, and its staggering burden and consequences. The diabetes epidemic is rapidly increasing in many countries, with a large proportion of diabetes cases both preventable and treatable. In 2008, an estimated 347 million people in the world had diabetes. Dr. Narayan’s research focuses largely on cases of type 2 diabetes in low- and middle-income countries, where the epidemic is on the rise.
“Information from high-income countries does not necessarily apply to low-and middle-income countries,” explains Dr. Narayan. “There is a huge dearth of prospective epidemiological data in these countries and lack of intervention studies. We need to take the research and epidemiology to where the epidemic is.”
Dr. Narayan is one of the world’s leading researchers on type 2 diabetes. In addition to his time at Emory, he spent 10 years at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, leading the science efforts in his role as Chief of the Diabetes Epidemiology and Statistics Branch. He also worked on the first diet-exercise intervention study as part of the Pima Indian Study of diabetes at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. He is a member of several international and national committees on type 2 diabetes and other non-communicable diseases and most recently won the American Diabetes Association’s Kelly West Award for outstanding achievement in epidemiology. He is the Danish Diabetes Academy visiting professor at the University of Copenhagen.