Basil S. Hetzel, AC, MD, FRCP, emeritus professor of medicine at the University of Adelaide, Australia and the first/founding Executive Director of ICCIDD, has been honored to receive the 2009 Pollin Prize. The award ceremony was held in New York City this week.
Joining Basil to celebrate the award were all four of ICCIDD's chairmen (founder John Stanbury, Basil, Jack Ling and current chair Jerry Burrow) and both surviving executive directors (Basil and current executive director David Haxton).
The award was made to honor "his vision, leadership and discovery" and the award states:
His pioneering work led to our understanding of the effects of iodine deficiency on brain development – and the importance of incorporating iodized salt in the diet to prevent brain damage in newborns.
Dr. Hetzel's research team in Papua New Guinea (1964-1972) established that brain damage could be prevented by correction of iodine deficiency before pregnancy. This groundbreaking research led him to begin a worldwide campaign to incorporate iodized salt into the diets of more than two billion people in some 130 countries where iodine is lacking.
The World Health Organization now recognizes that iodine deficiency is the most common preventable cause of brain damage in the world today.
Dr. Hetzel's efforts have prevented brain damage in millions of children. We honor his vision, leadership and discovery.
We are proud of Dr. Hetzel and would note his more than 30 years service to ICCIDD as director and officer.