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Associated Alumni

Inaugural Health Research Chair in Diabetes named

An expert in population health and former analyst at the World Health Organization has been named to a $1 million health research chair in diabetes at UNB.

Neeru Gupta becomes the first person to hold the Canadian Diabetes Association-New Brunswick Health Research Foundation chair in diabetes research. She previously worked to improve public health systems, researching the effects of chronic illness such as diabetes on society, and helping to inform evidence-based public health policy both locally and internationally.

“Today, three million Canadians live with diabetes and many more are at high risk of developing the disease,” says Gupta. “New Brunswick faces the second-highest reported prevalence in the country. This poses long-term challenges for which we need work together to find solutions. I hope through health research chair in diabetes we will build a better understanding of the causes and effects of diabetes and improve prevention, treatment, and care services.”

In November 2015, the Canadian Diabetes Association and the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation announced they were contributing $1 million to the creation of this chair. In addition to hosting the chair, UNB committed to establishing a tenure-track position for the researcher. Gupta is now also an associate professor of sociology at UNB.

“In my role as chair, I’ll be able to build on government and stakeholder health data resources, to tease out how and where we should invest to have the largest impact and improve population health,” says Gupta. “There are also many unanswered questions about the possible links between diabetes and other chronic illnesses. This role will allow us to further investigate those links through evidence, which could lead to improved understanding of how to promote better health and quality of life for all.”

Gupta has held a number of positions in demographics and health care over her career, including two stints with the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. At the WHO, she worked to improve public health systems through the generation and sharing of research and best practices and encouraging evidence-based approaches to health policy and planning.

She has also served as a lecturer-researcher at her alma mater, l’Université de Montréal, a consultant in population health and development to international agencies, and as a senior epidemiologist focused on trends in chronic illness, including diabetes.

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Back to Alumni News Direct - March 2017