Award for Global Engagement

2010 Recipients

James D. Neaton

Dr. James Neaton, professor of biostatistics, is a distinguished scholar recognized internationally for his significant discoveries in the treatment and prevention of disease and building capacity worldwide for conducting large-scale health research. In the early stages of his career, he established himself as a leader in the study of cardiovascular disease. By the end of the 1980s he turned his focus to what had become the decade’s most devastating disease: AIDS. Throughout the past 20 years, Dr. Neaton has directed the world’s largest HIV/AIDS clinical trials, each one larger and more ambitious than the last. His intelligence, insight, and commitment to globally focused research has led to an extraordinary career in the areas of clinical trails, cardiovascular health, and HIV/AIDS research.

Through the School of Public Health’s Coordinating Centers for Biometric Research, Dr. Neaton leads a team focused on determining the most effective ways of treating HIV/AIDS. In 2006, Dr. Neaton became the principal investigator of the International Network for Strategic Initiatives in Global HIV Trials (INSIGHT), funded by the National Institutes of Health and representing the world’s largest collaboration of HIV/AIDS researchers. He and his team directed a network of 400 sites in 37 countries and enrolled more than 10,000 people with HIV in randomized trials to research antiretroviral drug-sparing strategies and treatments. Findings from the study changed clinical practice guidelines globally, opened up new avenues for HIV researchers, and improved the health of countless people.

Early on, Dr. Neaton understood the importance of working on a global level to address health issues that can affect anyone. He has made significant advances in the treatment and prevention of disease and in leading, mentoring, and building consensus among the vast ranks of those in the health field. Dr. Neaton’s ability to educate diverse audiences on complex subjects has made him a frequent leader of international seminars and workshops. He has participated in seminars in Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Sweden, Brazil, Singapore, and Spain. At the invitation of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Neaton serves as an adviser for Project Phidisa, based in South Africa. The project includes a large randomized trial for those with advanced HIV and a study for those not infected or with earlier stages of the disease.

It has been Dr. Neaton’s vision to work across boundaries, pool resources, and build networks to improve health. He truly understands that public health is indeed global health. His work has had a substantial impact on HIV/AIDS, cutting the death rate by one-tenth and helping people with very advanced stages of the disease. While Dr. Neaton’s research, teaching, and outreach endeavors are impressively vast, they are aimed at a specific outcome: to improve the health and lives of people worldwide.