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Robert Black

Departmental Affiliations

Global Disease Epidemiology and Control
School of Medicine

Robert Black, MD, MPH, is an epidemiologist who researches maternal and child health and nutrition in low- and middle-income countries to improve survival, health, and development.

Contact Info

615 N. Wolfe Street, Room E8547

Research Interests

International health; diarrhea; evaluation; global health; infectious diseases; malaria, malnutrition; pneumonia; health policy; zinc

Experiences & Accomplishments
University of California, Los Angeles
Hahnemann Medical College

The World Health Organization estimates that two-thirds of the 5 million child deaths in developing countries each year are directly caused by infectious diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria and that undernutrition contributes to nearly half of child deaths.  Robert E. Black, M.D., M.P.H. has focused his research and professional activities on reducing the number of these unnecessary deaths. He is conducting epidemiologic research on the interaction of infectious diseases and nutrition, clinical and community-based trials of new vaccines to prevent childhood infectious diseases, and trials of nutritional interventions to reduce infectious disease morbidity and mortality, as well as improve growth and development. He is also assisting with implementation of disease control and nutrition programs in developing countries and conducting evaluations of their effectiveness and mortality impact. His other interests are related to the use of evidence in policy and programs, estimation of the burden of disease, development of research capacity and strengthening of public health training.

Honors & Awards

1969     Hoffman-LaRoche Award
1971     Dean's Award-Hahnemann Medical College
1977     Alexander D. Langmuir Prize (Alumni Award of the Epidemic Intelligence Service, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta)
2001     E.V. McCollum International Lectureship in Nutrition (17th Lecture) 
2002     Institute of Medicine of the U.S. National Academies
2005     E.H. Christophersen Award, American Academy of Pediatrics
2006     Paul G. Rogers Society for Global Health Research Ambassador (2006-Present)
2010     Programme for Global Paediatric Research Award for Outstanding Contributions to Global Child Health
2010     Prince Mahidol Award in Public Health
2011     UCLA Alumni Hall of Fame, The Lester Breslow Lifetime Achievement Award
2011     Canada Gairdner Award in Global Health
2011     Raulin Award from International Society for Trace Element Research in Humans
2012     Heritage Award, Johns Hopkins University
2016 Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Humanitarian Award
2018 Robert Suskind and Leslie Lewinter-Suskind Pediatric Nutrition Lifetime Achievement Award
2019 John Walker-Smith Oration, Commonwealth Association for Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition

Select Publications

Selected Recent Publications

  • Black RE, Victora C, Walker SP, Bhutta ZA, Christian P, De Onis M, Ezzati M, Grantham-McGregor, Katz J, Martorell R, Uauy R and the Maternal and Child Nutrition Study Group. Maternal and Child Nutrition 1. Maternal and child undernutrition and overweight in low-and middle-income countries. Lancet 382(9890): 427-51, 2013.

  • Black RE, Levin C, Walker N, Chou D, Liu L, Temmerman T for the DCP3 RMNCH Authors Group. Reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health: Key messages from disease control priorities 3rd edition. The Lancet 388: 2811-24, 2016.

  • Liu L, Oza S, Hogan D, Chu Y, Perin J, Zhu J, Lawn J, Cousens S, Mathers C, Black RE. Global, regional, and national causes of under-5 mortality in 2000–15: An updated systematic analysis with implications for the sustainable development goals. The Lancet,, 2016.

  • Black RE, Fontaine O, Lamberti L, Bhan M, Huicho L, El Arifeen S, Masanja H, Fischer Walker C, Kesteela Mengestu T, Pearson L, Young M, Orobaton N, Chu Y, Jackson B, Bateman M, Walker N, Merson M. Drivers of the reduction in childhood diarrhea mortality1980-2015 and interventions to eliminate preventable diarrhea deaths by 2030. J Glob Health, 9(2), doi: 10.7189/jogh.09.020801, 2019.

  • Bhutta, ZA, Akseer N, Keats EC, Vaivada T, Baker S, Horton SE, Katz J, Menon P, Piwoz E, Shekar M, Victora C, Black R. How countries can reduce child stunting at scale: lessons from exemplars countries. Am J Clin Nutr, 112(2);894S-904S, 2020.

Global Research Activity
Multicenter Operational Study of Home-Bsed Management of Severe Pneumonia in Children with Oral Amoxicillin (APIS II)
Active TB Case Finding, Cambodia
Hospital DOTS and Linkage Project, Indonesia
Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis, Kazakhstan
Clinical Algorithm and Verbal Autopsy Validation Study
Evaluation Research to Improve Newborn Health and Survival, CARE India
Cost and Prevalence of Chronic Conditions and Injuries in Eastern Europe
Prevention of Haemophilus Influenzae, Type b in India - A Probe Study to Evaluate the Burden of Disease
Defining Incidence of Intussusception in Preparation for Phase III Trial of a New Rotavirus Vaccine/Surveillance for Rotavirus and IS Component of a Phase III Evaluation of RIX 4414 RV Vaccine
Association of Intestinal Intussusception and Diarrhea: Five-Country Surveillance
Evaluation of a Package of Community-Based Interventions on Maternal Health, Bangladesh
Combined Nutritional Interventions to Promote Maternal and Infant Health: Effects Over a Pregnancy Cycle and on Children 0-24 Months
Etiology, Prevention and Treatment of Neonatal Infections in the Community
Surveillance for Hospitalization and Death Due to Pneumonia in Two Districts in Bangladesh
Cluster randomized intervention trial to evaluate ‘opting-out’ vs. ‘opting-in’ strategies on the uptake of HIV counseling and testing of TB patients in the Province of the Eastern Cape, South Africa
Impact of Zinc and/or Iron-Folic Acid Supplementation on Child Mortality, Zanzibar
Healthy Fertility Formative Research (Postpartum Birth Spacing)
Community-based Interventions to Reduce Neonatal Mortality, Bangladesh
A Multi-center Study of the MODS Test for Diagnosis of Pulmonary TB and TB Drug Resistance, Brazil
Newborn Thermal Care Practices in Rural India: Community-based Program to Prevent and Improve Recognition and Management of Hypothermia
Multicenter Study of TK Medium for Rapid Detection of M. Tuberculosis (Brazil and South Africa)
Economic Evaluation of Community Distribution of Zinc for the Treatment of Diarrhea in India, Mali and Pakistan
Efficacy of Zinc in Treating Early Infant Diarrhea
Effectiveness of Zinc in the Treatment of Diarrhea
Vitamin A Supplementation of Mothers and Newborns to Reduce Risk of HIV Transmission and Mortality in Zimbabwe
Bangladesh Urban Primary Health Care Project
Efficacy Of Zinc Or Iron Supplementation During The First Three Years Of Life In Preventing Mortality In Zanzibar
Family Health & Child Survival Cooperative Agreement
Population Health Metrics Research Consortium Project
Strengthening Public Health Training in Africa
Tropical Therapy For Prevention Of Infections In Pre-Term Infants
Global Micronutrient Research and Leadership
DOTS Expansion into Prisons, Honduras
Learning from Implementation Experience of the Urban Health Resource Center in Urban Slums of North India (Process Documentation)
Development of verbal autopsy instruments in India and Tanzania
Lancet Series on Maternal and Child Under Nutrition
Validation of neonatal Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) and verbal autopsy
Formative Research on Umbilical and Skin Care Practices in Newborns in Sylhet District, Bangladesh (Chlorhexidine)
Delivery of Iron and Zinc Supplements
Integrated Management of Neonatal and Childhood Illnesses Baseline Assessment of Childhood Morbidity and mortality in Selected Districts in India - IPEN Study 2006 (Phase I)
Neonatal Research Analysis and Publications
Implementation of the Policy on Diarrhea Management
Influence of Iron and Zinc Supplementation on Development
President’s Malaria Initiative DSS Evaluation
Research Training on Childhood Infectious Diseases in Bangladesh
Global Burden of Disease
Impact evaluation of Africa scale-up: maternal and child health
Development of methods for real-time monitoring of child mortality
Research Training on diarrhea, respiratory and other maternal and child Infection
Evaluation of the Collective Impact on the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, & Malaria
Health Research Challenge for Impact
Special Programs to Address the Needs of Survivors-Improving Effectiveness of Treatment for Torture Survivors
Prospective Evaluation of the Integrated Community Case Management Program
Lancet Series on Maternal and Child Nutrition
Health Research Challenge for Impact: MUHAS
Maternal and Child Epidemiology Estimation
Maternal and Child Epidemiology Estimation (MCEE)
Maternal and Child Epidemiology Estimation (MCEE) collaboration: Global and national pneumococcal, Hib and pertussis etiology estimates
Countdown to 2030 Exemplars in Global Health Maternal and Neonatal Mortality
Countrywide Mortality Surveillance for Action COMSA
Countdown to 2030 Phase II - Data Analysis Center & GFF Country Collaboration
Rapid Mortality Mobile Phone Surveys during COVID-19
Exemplar Study in Niger: In-depth Retrospective Case Study of Success Factors in the Reduction of Maternal and Neonatal Mortality.
Prospective Country Evaluation (PCE) in Senegal and Mozambique
Prioritization of modifiable risk factors for adverse pregnancy outcomes and neonatal mortality in rural Nepal
Real Accountability: Data Analysis For Results (RADAR)
Understanding the Impact of Covid-19 on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health & Nutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa