Congratulations to Dr. Jean Jacques Noubiap, MD, PhD – 2023 winner of the GBD Emerging Researcher Award

Published August 25, 2023

Dr. Noubiap, GBD Emerging Researcher Award winner 2023

Dr. Jean Jacques Noubiap is a specialist physician and scientist from Cameroon whose career has centered around combatting the burden of disease of populations in Africa, with a focus on cardiovascular risk factors and diseases. He is currently a Postdoctoral Scholar in the School of Medicine at the University of California-San Francisco as well as a Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Collaborator and an accomplished author. 

Dr. Noubiap was ranked among the top 2% most cited global scientists in 2022, and he has co-authored over 300 publications, with many centered around cardiovascular diseases in Africa. His interest in cardiovascular health is driven by personal past experiences.

“The sudden cardiac death of two of my professors during my undergraduate medical training and later, seeing my father suffer and die from infective endocarditis, were shocking experiences that made me more aware of the devastating nature of cardiovascular diseases,” said Dr. Noubiap. 

“Set your career goals and stick to them. Contributing to reducing disparities in health outcomes should be a paramount career goal so all human beings benefit from the progress of medicine.”

“During my first years of medical practice in Cameroon, I noticed that a large proportion of my patients had cardiovascular risk factors or established cardiovascular disease and little knowledge about their condition. Very few were able to afford and follow treatment,” he said. “Unfortunately, there were very limited public health interventions for the prevention and management of these chronic non-communicable diseases.” 

These experiences motivated Dr. Noubiap to dive into comprehensive cardiovascular disease research. In 2017, he published a review of the epidemiology of venous thromboembolism in Africa, which has been used by several national public health authorities to evaluate the risk of thrombosis related to COVID-19 vaccines and inform COVID-19 vaccination strategies. 

“Shortly after I graduated from medical school, I realized many health conditions in African countries lacked local data to support public health interventions. This is particularly true for cardiovascular diseases, which are still given little attention in Africa compared to infectious diseases that attract most of the health-related expenditures in the region,” said Dr. Noubiap.

In 2022, Dr. Noubiap published a modeling analysis that studied metabolic syndrome in children and adolescents around the globe and found that the prevalence was high and not determined by a country’s wealth. It emphasized the urgent need to address childhood metabolic risk factors in order to lessen the global burden of cardiovascular diseases and other adverse health effects associated with metabolic syndrome. 

In the same year, he published a study on the epidemiology of infective endocarditis in Africa, which was a comprehensive summary of the available data on the incidence, risk factors, clinical pattern, microbiology, and outcomes of infective endocarditis in Africa.

This year, he published an analysis of fifty years of cardiovascular research in Africa from 1971 to 2021, which showed cardiovascular research productivity in African populations remains low and out of proportion, despite some recent progress. These findings highlight an urgent need to build capacity and fund and expand collaborative research networks in Africa.

What advice does Dr. Noubiap have for early-career public health researchers? 

“Set your career goals and stick to them. Contributing to reducing disparities in health outcomes should be a paramount career goal so all human beings benefit from the progress of medicine,” he said.

Congratulations to Dr. Jean Jacques Noubiap!