Bruce Neal is a Senior Director at The George Institute for Global Health, Professor of Medicine at the University of Sydney and Chair of the Australian Division of World Action on Salt and Health. He is an investigator on the Starlight and NutriSales projects within the DIET programme.
Bruce completed his medical training at Bristol University in the UK in 1990 and spent four years in clinical posts. Prior to taking up his position at the George Institute in 1999, he worked as an epidemiologist at the Clinical Trials Research Unit in Auckland where he completed his PhD in Medicine.
Bruce leads a program of vascular research at the Institute and is supported in his work by the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Australian Research Council through Program Grant and Fellowship funding. Bruce has a longstanding interest in the environmental determinants of high blood pressure and the potential for changes in the food supply to deliver health gains.
How he spends his time...
Bruce still spends about half his time working on large scale trials of new drug therapies for diabetes and vascular disease. He also heads up the Food policy Division at the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney where his goal is to use the methods he has learned in clinical research to advance public health nutrition. He’s pretty much fixated on ‘collaboration’, ‘scale’ and ‘randomisation’. A great example of this is the Salt Substitute and Stroke Study he is leading with colleagues in China. Designed to answer the controversy about salt reduction and vascular risk the trial is now close to completing randomisation of the 21,000 patients involved. With 5 years planned follow up the study will once and for all define the effects of salt substitute on stroke risk.
Bruce recently attended the American Heart Association meeting in Chicago. While avoiding the polar vortex which drove temperatures to an unseasonably low -10 degrees C, he was able to attend a series of sessions spanning clinical trials, nutrition and patient care. Particularly enjoyable was meeting with colleagues over dinner to start plotting the next big thing – it’s still a secret! Having spent some two weeks away he’s pretty keen to get home and back on his surf board at Bondi Beach. And getting back to some simple, low salt, home cooked food. It might sound like fun eating out every day but it gets pretty hard – particularly in the United States!