Pekka Puska

IANPHI Immediate Past President

Pekka Puska was appointed director general of THL in 2008. From 1972 to 1997, he was the director and principal investigator of the North Karelia Project, a highly successful public health project targeting noncommunicable diseases – particularly cardiovascular disease – in Finland. 

During his 25-year tenure, heart disease among the working age population dropped by 80%, and many in the international community cite the project as the model for successful population-based prevention of cardiovascular disease. Puska holds a PhD from the University of Kuopio and an MD and masters of political science from the University of Turku. He is the immediate past president of IANPHI and serves on the Governing Council of the WHO International Agency for Cancer Research.