June 6th 2013

Death of Fellow Istvan Ember (Hungary) 1 June 2013

It is with great sadness that the Collegium Ramazzini shares the news of the premature death of Fellow Istvan Ember from Hungary. Professor Ember was one of the most active members of the Collegium Ramazzini, organizing the recent symposium at University of Pecs where he was the Head of the Public Health Institute. Professor Ember was a mentor to many young scientists, several of which accompanied him to Carpi for the annual Ramazzini Days meeting and participated in the scientific poster sessions. One of these colleagues, Katalin Gombos, prepared the text below, making special note of how important Collegium membership was to our friend Istvan.

In memoriam Professor Istvan Ember

We share the woeful loss of Professor Istvan Ember, member of Collegium Ramazzini and head of our Public Health Institute in the University of Pecs, Hungary. He passed away on June 1, at his age of 61.

Professor Istvan Ember was born in 1952 in Debrecen, Hungary. He completed his studies at the University of Medicine in Debrecen with summa cum laude certification in general medicine. He achieved candidates degree in medical sciences in 1989 and PhD in 1994. In 2003 he was named Doctor of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

He gained specialization in Laboratory Investigation in 1981, in Laboratory Investigation of Hygiene and Epidemiology 1989, Public Health and Preventive Medicine 2003 and Occupational Medicine 2008.

Between 1977 and 1992 he worked in the Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology in the University of Debrecen as volunteer, assistant lecturer and professor assistant. In 1992 he became the head of the Public Health Institute of University of Pecs where he was elected to serve as Vice Rector for Education between 1995-1997. Professor Ember strongly focused his activity on the field of the education of public health, epidemiology and preventive medicine and conducted the teaching of his institute's graduate and postgraduate university programmes and the postgraduate trainings for the medical officers. He was a member of the vocational educational committee and the leader of the Transdanubian vocational gremium for Public Health, Preventive Medicine and Hygiene. He established two PhD Programmes at the University of Pecs and the University of Marosvasahely (Tirgu-Mures), where he mentored numerous PhD graduates. He continuously encouraged the support of Transylvanian Hungarian minority in many ways. He organized regularly bilateral conferences and frame budget proposals to strengthen the scientific collaboration between the mother country and Transylvania. Professor Ember regarded this activity as one of his major missions.

Professor Ember was a member of over 30 national and international scientific societies; he was chairman of the Hungarian Epidemiology Society and was founding member or member of the board of trustees in several scholarships and foundations. He was in the editorial board of numerous national and international scientific journals and he was the founding editor in chief of Hungarian Epidemiology and Journal of Proactive Medicine. Professor Ember edited and authored over 15 books and book chapters, out of which Medical Public Health is so comprehensive that it was accepted as the official educational textbook in two medical universities in Hungary, both in their graduate and postgraduate programmes.

In 2011, the Collegium Ramazzini, an internationally highly rated society of environmental and occupational health, elected him as a member. In the same year he organized a satellite meeting for the Ramazzini Collegium in Pecs University, for which activity he was honoured with the Ramazzini medal.

His special fields of interest were environmental and occupational carcinogenesis and prevention, molecular epidemiology of cancer, historical and geographical epidemiology and primary prevention of cancer. In Hungary, Professor Ember was the first to introduce molecular epidemiology approach into the field of public health. He developed his institute to be a center of molecular technology based cancer research and prevention.

Professor Ember was unique in so many interesting ways: besides being a leader, teacher, researcher and colleague he had outstanding literacy, especially in history, he also participated in a round table talk entitled National Visit, which programme was broadcasted on the Hungarian public television in series and was discussing the interconnections of history and medicine in high scientific quality. He loved nature and travelling. Personally he was extraordinarily open and utterly selfless. He restlessly worked for his Institute, Faculty, and University with the consciousness of responsibility to the Hungarian nation and to public health.



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