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Sommer Scholars

Alfred Sommer, MD, MHS ’73


In a remarkable career marked by lasting contributions to ophthalmology, epidemiology, micronutrient research, disaster relief and other areas, Alfred Sommer is best known for his research into vitamin A deficiency. 

He proved that a vitamin A deficiency dramatically increased childhood morbidity and mortality from infectious disease, and that a 4-cent dose of vitamin A not only prevented and cured eye disease, but also reduced childhood deaths by 34 percent. 

Because of his work, the World Health Organization, UNICEF and their partners now annually provide more than 400 million vitamin A supplements to children around the world, saving literally hundreds of thousands of lives each year.

Sommer, MD, MHS '73, is the recipient of numerous honors including the Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award and the Spirit of Helen Keller Award, and is a member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine.

He served as dean of the Bloomberg School from 1990 through 2005.

The Hopkins Sommer Scholars Program is named in honor of Dean Emeritus Alfred Sommer.