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Basil Hetzel

Basil Hetzel [Image source: Image courtesy of Dr Hetzel]The Hon Dr Basil Hetzel AC is an Australian medical researcher who has made a major contribution to combating iodine deficiency worldwide. Dr Basil Hetzel's pioneering work led to our understanding of the effects of iodine deficiency on brain development.

In the 1960s Dr Hetzel led research that identified the link between iodine deficiency and brain damage in unborn children. His research team in Papua New Guinea during 1964-1972 established that brain damage could be prevented by correction of iodine deficiency before pregnancy. This groundbreaking research led him to begin a worldwide campaign to incorporate iodized salt into the diets of more than two billion people in some 130 countries where iodine is lacking. Dr Hetzel's efforts have prevented brain damage in millions of children.

In 1986 Dr Hetzel initiated the International Council for Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD), which has bridged the gap between research and its application in developing countries where more than two billion are at risk of impaired brain function.

The second half of his life has been consumed with his efforts as a public health campaigner working towards the global prevention of iodine deficiency.

Dr Hetzel has spent most of his life in Adelaide and was Chancellor of the University of South Australia from 1992 to 1998. He was Lieutenant Governor of South Australia from April 1992 to May 2000. He is the Chair and a patron of the University’s Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre.

Basil Hetzel Collection

The primary purpose of the collection is to provide access for researchers to a consolidated record of the distinguished contribution by Dr Basil Hetzel to public health, both national and international, including his contribution to the elimination of iodine deficiency disorders through the work of the ICCIDD. The collection contains personal papers, reports, correspondence, programs, conference proceedings, journal articles, meeting notes, photographs, realia (including awards) and other documents.

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