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Center for Human Nutrition

Keith P. West, Jr., DrPH, MPH, RD

Dr. Keith WestKEITH P. WEST, JR., DrPH, MPH, RD, Professor of International Health (Division of Human Nutrition) and Ophthalmology (with the School of Medicine), has worked in international health for the past 25 years, concentrating on the epidemiology and prevention of micronutrient deficiencies and their health consequences. His work is driven by a belief that public health research provides the most credible and ethical basis for improving the well-being of the poor in the developing world. He and his colleagues work with policymakers and health program staffs both within U.S. government agencies and the ministries of health in developing countries to translate important scientific findings into programmatic action to prevent nutritional deficiencies.

Before entering the world of academia, Dr. West was a clinical dietitian for the Army Medical Specialist Corps and a public health nutrition consultant for the U.S. Army Office of the Surgeon General. He received both his master's degree (1979) and doctorate in public health (1986) at the Johns Hopkins University. 

He has worked extensively in Southern Asia (including Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Micronesia, Nepal, Philippines, and Thailand), as well as in Africa, toward defining the extent, severity, and consequences of vitamin A deficiency, the impact that its prevention can have on child and maternal health and survival, and in guiding the development and evaluation of prevention programs and policies. 

Presently, Dr. West is directing a large, collaborative research project on maternal and child micronutrient deficiency prevention in Northern Bangladesh (JiVitA).  He is also the primary instructor for two courses dealing with international nutrition and food and nutrition policy at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. This spring, the International Health Student Group honored Dr. West with an award for his contributions as a faculty mentor.  "Dr. West gives so much to his work, and that definitely includes his attention to fostering student success," says Jane Schmitz, PhD candidate. "I'm quite lucky to have him as my advisor."

Dr. West holds a number of positions in professional societies, including the International Vitamin A Consultative Group Steering Committee. He has published over 130 scientific articles and reviews, including the book Vitamin A Deficiency: Health, Survival, and Vision, which he coauthored with Alfred Sommer.

Go to Dr. West's webpage.
Go to the project page for JiVitA, the Bangladesh maternal and child micronutrient supplementation trial.

Relevant Publications:

West KP Jr.  Vitamin A deficiency as a preventable cause of maternal mortality in undernourished societies:  plausibility and next steps.  Intl J Gynecol Obstet 2004;85:S24-S27.

West KP Jr.  Vitamin A deficiency disorders in children and women.  Food Nutr Bull 2003;24:S78-S90.

Christian P, West KP Jr, Khatry SK, LeClerq SC, Pradhan EK, Katz J, Shrestha SR, Sommer A.  Effects of maternal micronutrient supplementation on fetal loss and infant mortality:  a cluster-randomized trial in Nepal.  Am J Clin Nutr 2003;78:1194-1202.

West KP Jr, Pokhrel RP, Katz J, LeClerq SC, Khatry SK, Shrestha SR, Pradhan EK, Tielsch JM, Pandey MR, Sommer A.  Efficacy of vitamin A in reducing preschool child mortality in Nepal.  Lancet 1991;338:67-71.

Sommer A, Tarwotjo I, Djunaedi E, West KP Jr, Loedin AA, Tilden R, Mele L, the Aceh Study Group.  Impact of vitamin A supplementation on childhood mortality:  A randomized controlled community trial.  Lancet 1986;1:1169-73.

West KP Jr.  Vitamin A deficiency as a preventable cause of maternal mortality in undernourished societies:  plausibility and next steps.  Intl J Gynecol Obstet 2004;85:S24-S27.

West KP Jr.  Vitamin A deficiency disorders in children and women.  Food Nutr Bull 2003;24:S78-S90.

Christian P, West KP Jr, Khatry SK, LeClerq SC, Pradhan EK, Katz J, Shrestha SR, Sommer A.  Effects of maternal micronutrient supplementation on fetal loss and infant mortality:  a cluster-randomized trial in Nepal.  Am J Clin Nutr 2003;78:1194-1202.

West KP Jr, Pokhrel RP, Katz J, LeClerq SC, Khatry SK, Shrestha SR, Pradhan EK, Tielsch JM, Pandey MR, Sommer A.  Efficacy of vitamin A in reducing preschool child mortality in Nepal.  Lancet 1991;338:67-71.

Sommer A, Tarwotjo I, Djunaedi E, West KP Jr, Loedin AA, Tilden R, Mele L, the Aceh Study Group.  Impact of vitamin A supplementation on childhood mortality:  A randomized controlled community trial.  Lancet 1986;1:1169-73.