News Release: Research , School of Medicine

Nov. 3,  2011

Emory Conference Prompts Launch of Global Coalition to Combat Cardio-Metabolic Syndrome

News Article ImageOmar Lattouf (left), Emory University School of Medicine; Brenda Fitzgerald, Georgia Department of Public Health; and Nicolas Chronos, Saint Joseph's Translational Research Institute. Photo by Chris Savas.

Public health officials and medical experts from around the world are announcing the formation of the Global Coalition to Combat Cardio-Metabolic Syndrome. The need for the group was established at a recent summit hosted by The Halle Institute for Global Learning at Emory University to address the rising global epidemic of cardio-metabolic syndrome.

Cardio-metabolic syndrome (CMS) is a cluster of diseases and risk factors—including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, unhealthy cholesterol levels and abdominal fat—that puts a person at higher risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. The underlying causes are obesity, being overweight, physical inactivity and genetic factors.

Led by Omar M. Lattouf, MD, PhD, professor of surgery at Emory University School of Medicine and Nicolas Chronos, MD, president of Saint Joseph’s Translational Research Institute, the coalition will initially focus on an educational campaign to combat childhood obesity. Lattouf outlined plans to bring lessons about nutrition, exercise and the health hazards associated with obesity into Georgia classrooms.

“We must bring high-level public attention to this epidemic that affects more than 300 million people in the world and is responsible for tens of millions of deaths annually,” Lattouf says.

Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health Brenda Fitzgerald and Chair of the Georgia Department of Community Health Ross Mason pledged their support for the coalition, expressing commitment to make Georgia a world leader in combating cardio-metabolic syndrome. Mason served as honorary president of the Emory University summit, which took place on Oct. 13 and 14.

Chronos welcomed the participation of government officials and private industry partners.

“Our city, state and nation have an obligation to respond to this crisis and to bring hope to the millions of people affected by CMS, through research, education, resource-sharing and promoting effective public health policy,” he says. “The coalition is established in the state of Georgia and will have national and international impact in organizing academics, scientists, researchers, institutions, pharma and government to prevent and treat this epidemic around the world.”

Gregory Connolly, DMD, MPH, professor of the practice of public health and director of the Center for Tobacco Control at Harvard School of Public Health, said there are opportunities for the coalition to learn from the successful U.S. anti-tobacco campaign in responding to other major public health issues.

“In addressing the global burden of cardiovascular syndrome, we must be sensitive to the synergistic effects that smoking has on important risk factors and conduct needed research to develop effective programs and policies,” says Connolly.

Founding members of the coalition include scientists and clinicians from Emory University, Emory-Georgia Tech Predictive Health Institute, Harvard School of Public Health, St. Joseph’s Translational Research Institute, St. Joseph’s Health System, Georgia Department of Public Health, Georgia Department of Economic Development, Georgia Health Sciences University, Consulate General of France in Atlanta, University of Utah School of Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Atlanta Gastroenterology Group, Southeast Permanente Medical Group, American University of Beirut, The Healthcare Institute for Neuro-Recovery & Innovation, Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town and the University Of Jordan Faculty Of Medicine.

Visit for more information about the coalition.

About The Halle Institute for Global Learning

Established in 1997 with a gift from Claus M. Halle, The Halle Institute for Global Learning is Emory’s premier venue for visits by heads of state, distinguished policymakers and influential public intellectuals from around the world. The Halle Institute’s programs strengthen faculty distinction, prepare engaged scholars and foster greater involvement from local, national and international communities.


The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service.

Learn more about Emory’s health sciences:
Twitter: @emoryhealthsci

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