Alfred Sommer, dean emeritus of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health whose landmark research on vitamin A is credited with saving the lives of millions of children around the world, was among those to receive an honorary doctorate from McGill University during its Health Sciences Convocation on Tuesday.
The honorary doctorate is the highest recognition bestowed by McGill University, a public research university in Montreal.
Sommer's research showed that vitamin A deficiency in children was far more common than previously accepted and that vitamin A supplementation can not only prevent and cure eye disease, but also reduce child mortality in at-risk populations by 23 to 34 percent, averting up to one million deaths a year. His work with vitamin A supplements has been called one of the most cost-effective of all health treatments by the World Development Report. He served as dean of the Bloomberg School from 1990 through 2005.
Sommer is one of 14 individuals who will receive honorary degrees during McGill's Spring Convocation ceremonies, which continue through next week.