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Pekka Puska (born 18 December 1945 in Vaasa) is a Finnish professor and expert on public health and policy. Professor Puska has held the position of Director General of the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Finland, since the beginning of 2009. THL was formed following the merger of National Public Health Institute of Finland (KTL), and the National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health (STAKES). Professor Puska headed KTL from 2003 to 2009.
Professor Puska is considered to have had a significant influence on Finnish public health research and practice for several decades. He spearheaded the North Karelia Project (as Director and Principal Investigator) for preventing cardiovascular disease 1972–1977, during which time, cardiovascular disease mortality fell by 80 per cent. Puska worked as a director for NCD prevention and health promotion at the World Health Organization (WHO) Headquarters in 2001–03. In 2006 he was the Finnish candidate for the Director-General post of WHO. He also currently holds the position of President of World Heart Federation (WHF) and that of Vice-President of the International Association of Public Health Institutes (IANPHI).
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