Professor — Status Only

Zulfiqar Bhutta

Department of Nutritional Sciences


Hospital for Sick Children
555 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario Canada M5G 1X8
Research Interests
maternal health, infant, child and adolescent health, epidemiology, non-communicable disease, infectious and enteric disease, humanitarian crises
Appointment Status
Not accepting new students


  • Fellow of Pakistan Academy of Sciences (2004)
  • Fellowship of the Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health (FRCPCH), UK (1997)
  • PhD, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm (1996)
  • Fellowship of Royal College of Physicians (FRCP), Edinburgh (1990)
  • MBBS, Khyber Medical College, University of Peshawar, Pakistan (1977)

LinkedIn Google Scholar

Other Academic Appointments

Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto

Professor, Dalla School of Public Health, University of Toronto

At a Glance

  • In April of 2021, in collaborations with partners at international organizations, Dr. Bhutta's group published a series of papers in the Lancet on maternal and child undernutrition progress.
  • The work of Dr. Bhutta and his team in the realm of food environments is continuing to expand. Last year in the second phase of their Food Environments project, an intervention-focused review was conducted to understand the effectiveness of food environment interventions, both preventive and curative in nature, on diet-related health outcomes in school-aged children and adolescents in LMIC. The review was accepted for publication in May of 2020 and the findings presented at the Micronutrient Forum in 2021.
  • Dr. Bhutta and his team are continuing to investigate food systems and security focusing on children and adolescents, factoring in the effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on nutritional status in maternal and child populations in low-and middle income settings.

About Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta

Dr. Zulfiqar A. Bhutta is the Inaugural Robert Harding Chair in Global Child Health and Inaugural Ibn Sina Scholar in Global Child Health at the Hospital for Sick Children, Co-Director of SickKids’ Centre for Global Child Health, and Founding Director of both the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health, and Institute of Global Health and Development at Aga Khan University. He holds adjunct professorships at universities including Johns Hopkins University and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Dr. Bhutta is a Distinguished National Professor of the Government of Pakistan, co-Chair of the Maternal and Child Health oversight committee of WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region, the Coalition of Centres in Global Child Health Chairman, and a leading voice for health professionals supporting integrated maternal, newborn and child health globally.

Dr. Bhutta leads large research groups in Toronto, Karachi and Nairobi with special interests in scaling up evidence-based, community setting interventions and implementation of reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and nutrition interventions in humanitarian contexts. His work with community health workers influenced maternal and newborn outreach programs for marginalized populations internationally and his group’s work with the WHO and the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health is guiding essential global intervention policies for women, children and adolescents.

Dr. Bhutta obtained his MBBS from the University of Peshawar and his PhD from the Karolinska Institute. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, and the Pakistan Academy of Sciences. In 2020 he was awarded the honour of Fellow of the Royal Society.

Research Synopsis

  1. Dr. Bhutta has made significant contributions to the field of reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health. Over the past several decades, his teams have produced publications, reports and fostered collaborations with governments and NGO’s to influence policy change and improve outcomes related to RMNCAH
    1. Lassi ZS, Musavi NB, Maliqi B, Mansoor N, de Francisco A, Toure K, Bhutta ZA. Systematic review on human resources for health interventions to improve maternal health outcomes: evidence from low- and middle-income countries. Hum Resour Health. 2016 Mar 12;14(1):10. doi: 10.1186/s12960-016-0106-y
    2. Sharma S, Adetoro OO, Vidler M, Drebit S, Payne BA, Akeju DO, Adepoju A, Jaiyesimi E, Sotunsa J, Bhutta ZA, Magee LA, von Dadelszen P, Dada O. A process evaluation plan for assessing a complex community-based maternal health intervention in Ogun State, Nigeria. BMC Health Serv Res. 2017 Mar 28;17(1):238. doi: 10.1186/s12913-017-2124-4. PubMed PMID: 28351355; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5371276.
    3. Boerma T, Tappis H, Saad-Haddad G, Das J, Melesse DY, DeJong J, Spiegel P, Black R, Victora C, Bhutta ZA, Barros AJD. Armed conflicts and national trends in reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health in sub-Saharan Africa: what can national health surveys tell us? BMJ Glob Health. 2019 Jun 24;4(Suppl 4):e001300. doi: 10.1136/bmjgh-2018-001300. eCollection 2019. Review. PubMed PMID: 31297253; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6590971.
    4. Keats EC, Haider BA, Tam E, Bhutta ZA. Multiple-micronutrient supplementation for women during pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019 Mar 14;3:CD004905. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD004905.pub6. [Epub ahead of print] Review. PubMed PMID: 30873598.
    5. Oh C, Keats EC, Bhutta ZA. Vitamin and Mineral Supplementation During Pregnancy on Maternal, Birth, Child Health and Development Outcomes in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients. 2020 Feb 14;12(2). pii: E491. doi: 10.3390/nu12020491. Review. PubMed PMID: 32075071.
  2. Dr. Bhutta has led and contributed to large scale research projects in the field of non-communicable diseases including a role on the NCD Child Secretariat.
    1. NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC). Rising rural body-mass index is the main driver of the global obesity epidemic in adults. Nature. 2019 May;569(7755):260-264. doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1171-x. Epub 2019 May 8.
    2. Hanson M, Bhutta ZA, Dain K, Fuchtner C, Hod M. Intergenerational burden and risks of NCDs: need to promote maternal and child health. Lancet. 2018 Dec 8;392(10163):2422-2423. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(18)33053-8.
    3. Bukhman G, Mocumbi AO, Atun R, Becker AE, Bhutta Z, Binagwaho A, Clinton C, Coates MM, Dain K, Ezzati M, Gottlieb G, Gupta I, Gupta N, Hyder AA, Jain Y, Kruk ME, Makani J, Marx A, Miranda JJ, Norheim OF, Nugent R, Roy N, Stefan C, Wallis L, Mayosi B; Lancet NCDI Poverty Commission Study Group. The Lancet NCDI Poverty Commission: bridging a gap in universal health coverage for the poorest billion. Lancet. 2020 Sep 14:S0140-6736(20)31907-3. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31907-3. Online ahead of print. PMID: 32941823 Review.
    4. NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC), Di Cesare M, Bentham J, Ezzati M. Trends in adult body-mass index in 200 countries from 1975 to 2014: a pooled analysis of 1698 population-based measurement studies with 19·2 million participants. Lancet. 2016;387:1377-96.
  3. As a paediatrician, a large body of work has been centred on improving outcomes in paediatric population including improved birth outcomes, reducing neonatal mortality and getting children on the right track early on to thrive and reach their full potential.
    1. Bhutta ZA, Aimone A, Akhtar S. Climate change and global child health: what can paediatricians do? Arch Dis Child. 2019 Mar 16. pii: archdischild-2018-316694. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2018-316694. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 30878946.
    2. Imdad A, Bautista RM, Senen KA, Uy ME, Mantaring Iii JB, Bhutta ZA. Umbilical cord antiseptics for preventing sepsis and death among newborns. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 May 31;5:CD008635.
    3. Turab A, Ariff S, Habib MA, Ahmed I, Hussain M, Rashid A, Memon Z, Khan MI, Soofi S, Bhutta ZA. Improved accessibility of emergency obstetrics and newborn care (EmONC) services for maternal and newborn health: a community based project. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2013 Jun 24;13:136
    4. Neonatal Vitamin A Supplementation Evidence group. Early neonatal vitamin A supplementation and infant mortality: an individual participant data meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Arch Dis Child. 2018 Nov 13. pii: archdischild-2018-315242. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2018-315242. [Epub ahead of print].
  4. Throughout Dr. Bhutta's career, he has led systematic reviews, and case country reviews on a series of topics including stunting, wasting, and child mortality to identify countries that have performed exceptionally well in decreasing health concerns amongst women, children and vulnerable populations. Currently, his team is examining a second stage of stunting exemplars and considering a series of anemia exemplar countries.
    1. Wigle JM, Akseer N, Mogilevskii R, Brar S, Conway K, Enikeeva Z, Iamshchikova M, Islam M, Kirbasheva D, Rappaport AI, Tasic H, Vaivada T, Bhutta ZA. Drivers of stunting reduction in the Kyrgyz Republic: A country case study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2020 Jul 16:nqaa120. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqaa120. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32672334.
    2. Baxter JB, Wasan Y, Soofi SB, Suhag Z, Bhutta ZA. Feasibility and effect of life skills building education and multiple micronutrient supplements versus the standard of care on anemia among non-pregnant adolescent and young Pakistani women (15-24 years): a prospective, population-based cluster-randomized trial. Reprod Health. 2018 May 30;15(1):103. doi: 10.1186/s12978-018-0547-y.
    3. Akseer N, Vaivada T, Rothschild O, Ho K, Bhutta ZA. Understanding multifactorial drivers of child stunting reduction in Exemplar countries: a mixed-methods approach.  Am J Clin Nutr. 2020 Jul 10:nqaa152. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqaa152. Online ahead of print. PMID: 32649742.
  5. Infectious diseases continue to plague the global population with increased mortality seen amongst women and children in resource poor settings. With the goal of improving policy, practice and access to essential services including immunizations, Dr. Bhutta has collaborated with stakeholders, governments, and academic institutions to synthesize what is known and guide a way forward to improve preventable death in women and children.
    1. Bhutta ZA, Victora C, Boerma T, Kruk ME, Patton G, Black MM, Sawyer S, Horton S, Black RE, Horton R; Lancet Optimising Child Health Series Steering Committee. Optimising the continuum of child and adolescent health and development. Lancet. 2019 Mar 8. pii: S0140-6736(19)30488-X. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(19)30488-X. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 30878221.
    2. Razzak J, Usmani MF, Bhutta ZA. Global, regional and national burden of emergency medical diseases using specific emergency disease indicators: analysis of the 2015 Global Burden of Disease Study. BMJ Glob Health. 2019 Mar 30;4(2):e000733. doi: 10.1136/bmjgh-2018-000733. eCollection 2019. PubMed PMID: 30997158; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6441258.
    3. Meteke S, Stefopulos M, Als D, Gaffey M, Kamali M, Siddiqui FJ, Munyuzangabo M, Jain RP, Shah S, Radhakrishnan A, Ataullahjan A, Bhutta ZA. Delivering infectious disease interventions to women and children in conflict settings: a systematic reviefw. BMJ Glob Health. 2020 Apr;5(Suppl 1):e001967. doi: 10.1136/bmjgh-2019-001967. PMID: 32341087; PMCID: PMC7213813.
    4. Soofi SB, Haq IU, Khan MI, Siddiqui MB, Mirani M, Tahir R, Hussain I, Puri MK, Suhag ZH, Khwaja AR, Lasi AR, Clemens JD, Favorov M, Ochiai RL, Bhutta ZA. Schools as potential vaccination venue for vaccines outside regular EPI schedule: results from a school census in Pakistan. BMC Res Notes. 2012 Jan 6; 5(1):6.

Recent Awards and Distinctions (Selected)

John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award (2022)

Robert Suskind and Leslie Lewinter-Suskind Pediatric Nutrition Lifetime Achievement Award, American Society for Nutrition (2022)

Roux Prize for Global Contributions to Maternal & Child Health, Institute for Health Metrics & Evaluation (2021)

Appointed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan as Chairman, Board of Governors, National Institutes of Health (2021)

Honorary Fellow, Royal College of Pediatrics & Child Health, UK (2021)

Fellow, Royal Society, UK (2020)

Recent Publications

  1. Uchitel J, Alden E, Bhutta ZA, Cavallera V, Lucas J, Oberklaid F, Patterson J, Raghavan C, Richter L, Rikard B, Russell RR, Mikati MA. Role of Pediatricians, Pediatric Associations, and Academic Departments in Ensuring Optimal Early Childhood Development Globally: Position Paper of the International Pediatric Association. J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2022 Aug 16. doi: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000001112. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35980036.
  2. GBD 2019 LRI Collaborators. Age-sex differences in the global burden of lower respiratory infections and risk factors, 1990-2019: results from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. Lancet Infect Dis. 2022 Aug 11:S1473-3099(22)00510-2. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(22)00510-2. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35964613.
  3. Arvay ML, Shang N, Qazi SA, Darmstadt GL, Islam MS, Roth DE, Liu A, Connor NE, Hossain B, Sadeq-Ur Rahman Q, El Arifeen S, Mullany LC, Zaidi AKM, Bhutta ZA, Soofi SB, Shafiq Y, Baqui AH, Mitra DK, Panigrahi P, Panigrahi K, Bose A, Isaac R, Westreich D, Meshnick SR, Saha SK, Schrag SJ. Infectious aetiologies of neonatal illness in south Asia classified using WHO definitions: a primary analysis of the ANISA study. Lancet Glob Health. 2022 Sep;10(9):e1289-e1297. doi: 10.1016/S2214-109X(22)00244-3. PMID: 35961352; PMCID: PMC9380253.
  4. Imdad A, Rogner JL, François M, Ahmed S, Smith A, Tsistinas OJ, Tanner-Smith E, Das JK, Chen FF, Bhutta ZA. Increased vs. Standard Dose of Iron in Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods for the Treatment of Severe Acute Malnutrition in a Community Setting: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients. 2022 Jul 29;14(15):3116. doi: 10.3390/nu14153116. PMID: 35956294; PMCID: PMC9370784.
  5. Wasan Y, Baxter JB, Rizvi A, Shaheen F, Junejo Q, Abro MA, Hussain A, Ahmed I, Soofi SB, Bhutta ZA. Practices and predictors of menstrual hygiene management material use among adolescent and young women in rural Pakistan: A cross-sectional assessment. J Glob Health. 2022 Aug 10;12:04059. doi: 10.7189/jogh.12.04059. PMID: 35908217; PMCID: PMC9339234.
  6. Carducci B, Wasan Y, Shakeel A, Hussain A, Baxter JB, Rizvi A, Soofi SB, Bhutta ZA. Characterizing Retail Food Environments in Peri-Urban Pakistan during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Jul 15;19(14):8614. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19148614. PMID: 35886466; PMCID: PMC9324779.
  7. Haakenstad A, Angelino O, Irvine CMS, Bhutta ZA, Bienhoff K, Bintz C, Causey K, Dirac MA, Fullman N, Gakidou E, Glucksman T, Hay SI, Henry NJ, Martopullo I, Mokdad AH, Mumford JE, Lim SS, Murray CJL, Lozano R. Measuring contraceptive method mix, prevalence, and demand satisfied by age and marital status in 204 countries and territories, 1970-2019: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. Lancet. 2022 Jul 23;400(10348):295-327. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(22)00936-9. PMID: 35871816; PMCID: PMC9304984.
  8. Guga G, Elwood S, Kimathi C, Kang G, Kosek MN, Lima AAM, Bessong PO, Samie A, Haque R, Leite JP, Bodhidatta L, Iqbal N, Page N, Kiwelu I, Bhutta ZA, Ahmed T, Liu J, Rogawski McQuade ET, Houpt E, Platts-Mills JA, Mduma ER. Burden, Clinical Characteristics, Risk Factors, and Seasonality of Adenovirus 40/41 Diarrhea in Children in Eight Low-Resource Settings. Open Forum Infect Dis. 2022 May 13;9(7):ofac241. doi: 10.1093/ofid/ofac241. PMID: 35854993; PMCID: PMC9277636.
  9. GBD 2019 Adolescent Transport and Unintentional Injuries Collaborators. Adolescent transport and unintentional injuries: a systematic analysis using the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. Lancet Public Health. 2022 Aug;7(8):e657-e669. doi: 10.1016/S2468-2667(22)00134-7. Epub 2022 Jun 30. PMID: 35779567; PMCID: PMC9329128.
  10. Imdad A, Chen FF, François M, Tanner-Smith E, Smith A, Tsistinas OJ, Das JK, Bhutta ZA. Protocol for a systematic review on routine use of antibiotics for infants less than 6 months of age with growth failure/faltering. BMJ Open. 2022 Jun 30;12(6):e057241. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-057241. PMID: 35772832; PMCID: PMC9247651.

In the News

Feeding Kids, Nourishing Minds: Researcher Mavra Ahmed studies school food programs in Canada. U of T News. April 29, 2022.

John Dick and Zulfiqar Bhutta win Canada Gairdner Awards. U of T News. April 5, 2022.

2022 Canada Gairdner Awards Recognize World-Renowned Scientists For Transformative Contributions To Research Impacting Human Health. Gairdner Foundation. April 5, 2022.

Professor Zulfiqar Bhutta awarded 2021 Roux Prize. Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. September 8, 2021.

Current Lab Members (within the Department of Nutritional Sciences)

Bianca Carducci - PhD student

Amira Khan - PhD student