Public Health

Noncommunicable diseases (NCD), also known as chronic diseases, disease groups such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, and age-related cognitive decline.  They are the major cause of all deaths globally, increasing rapidly in many middle- and low income countries. They also carry an enormous economic burden worldwide.

The Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition at the University of Eastern Finland is internationally well known for its top quality cardiovascular research dating back to 1970’s. The world famous North Karelia Project was launched here in 1972.  More recently, our flagship international public health research has been the KIHD Study (Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study), which, despite its name, does not focus only on cardiovascular diseases. With the use of vast KIHD data and linkages to comprehensive national health registries, we are able to examine a wide range of potential risk factors and complex paths of various noncommunicable diseases, including, for example, cancers, diabetes and dementia. Hundreds and hundreds of KIHD-based international peer-reviewed articles and roughly 50 PhD dissertations have been published so far. This population-based prospective follow-up study is expected to produce interesting and valuable research findings all the way through the 2020s.

Our research groups have joined with several international research consortia and networks. In addition, we have initiated and continued other smaller or larger research projects including various issues of nutrition, ageing, addictions, health systems, environmental health (especially with respect to air-born health risks), cultural aspects of public health, and public health in humanitarian crises and conflicts.

Key senior researchers:

Jussi Kauhanen, MD, PhD, MPH, Professor of Public Health (Responsible researcher), jussi.kauhanen(at)
Tiina Laatikainen, MD, PhD, Professor of Health Promotion, tiina.laatikainen(at), UEF Connect
Tomi-Pekka Tuomainen, MD, PhD, Professor of Epidemiology, tomi-pekka.tuomainen(at)
Eija Lönnroos, MD, PhD, Professor of Geriatrics, eija.lonnroos(at)uef,fi
Timo Lanki, PhD, Professor of Environmental Health, timo.lanki(at)
Miia Kivipelto, MD, PhD, Professor of Neurogeriatrics, miia.kivipelto(at)
Jyrki Virtanen, PhD, Adjunct Professor (tenure track), Nutritional Epidemiology, jyrki.virtanen(at)
Sudhir Kurl, MD, PhD, Adjunct Professor, sudhir.kurl(at)
Sari Voutilainen, PhD, Professor of Nutrition (acting), sari.voutilainen(at)
Ari Voutilainen, PhD, Adjunct Professor, Data Manager and Statistician, ari.voutilainen(at), UEF Connect
Irma Nykänen, PhD, Adjunct Professor, UEF Connect

We have a large network of research partners and collaborators in other UEF departments and faculties, other Finnish universities and research institutes, as well as internationally especially in many European countries, in the US, and in Australia.