Wellcome Trust report reviews 20 years of population and public health

This week sees the World Health Organization celebrating the 63rd World Health Day, held on 7 April each year to coincide with the founding of the organisation. Also this week, the Wellcome Trust launches its latest portfolio review, 'Population and Public Health, 1990–2011', which describes the key breakthroughs in the field over the past two decades and identifies the Trust's role during this time.

The review is intended to help inform future funding strategy by bringing together the reflections of an expert group – chaired by Dr Jeffrey Koplan, Vice President for Global Health at Emory University, Atlanta – with views on current challenges and future research opportunities, both for the Wellcome Trust and for others involved in supporting population and public health research.

Between 1990 and 2011, the Trust spent £634 million on population and public health research, which represents nine per cent of its total funding commitment during this time. The report concludes that there are four broad areas in which the Wellcome Trust is thought to have had a significant impact on the field:

With the help of experts in the field, through a consultation survey and the in-person group, the review identifies several current and future challenges for population and public health research. These include: