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Longtime IDRC grantee wins 2023 John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award

May 11, 2023
José Belizán, a recipient of several past IDRC grants, was awarded the 2023 John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award "For the development of innovative, evidence-based and low-cost global interventions in maternal and child health during the perinatal period that improve well-being and care during pregnancy, reduce morbidity and mortality, and promote equity in vulnerable populations."
Head and shoulders photo of José Belizán.

He is an obstetrician, holding a doctor in the Biology of Reproduction from Salvador University (Buenos Aires) and doctor in Medicine from Rosario University. He is a principal investigator in the Department of Research in Maternal and Child Health at the Institute for Clinical Effectiveness (ICES) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, an associate professor at Tulane University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (USA), and a senior researcher at the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research of Argentina (CONICET). 

His research 

Dr. Belizán’s work ranges from fundamental research to international clinical studies. The resulting innovations have advanced maternal and child health in vulnerable populations. 

For example, by studying the traditional ways that Guatemalan Mayan women prepare their food, he found a relationship between calcium intake and the risk of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. Pursuing these observations, he directed many animal and human studies that investigated this interaction and the underlying process. International clinical trials in underdeveloped and developed nations resulted in guidelines and further work to ensure that they were implemented. 

IDRC-funded projects 

He was the principal investigator for several IDRC-funded projects. Two of them were the Prevention of Pregnancy Induced Hypertension and Research, Training and Community Health, a project that trained specialists from Argentina and other Latin American countries to develop and evaluate community health programs and services related to perinatal problems and obstetrical care. Belizán also served as an advisor on the Scoping Study on Sexual, Reproductive and Maternal Health in Latin America and the Caribbean.