Zulfiqar Bhutta

Prof. Zulfiqar Bhutta

Nutritional Sciences and Public Health

It may be difficult to find a more dedicated and prominent advocate for global child health than Zulfiqar Bhutta. A champion of integrated maternal, newborn, and childhood health globally, he is also the co-director of the Centre for Global Child Health at the Hospital for Sick Children.

“The Centre for Global Child Health does a fair amount of work on childhood and adolescent nutrition, and its interface with maternal nutrition,” says Bhutta. “By developing synergies between the two Centres, we can take an important step to address pressing challenges in childhood health.”

Bhutta hopes that closer ties between The Joannah & Brian Lawson Centre for Child Nutrition (Lawson Centre) and the Centre for Global Child Health will help us learn more about practical solutions both in Canada and elsewhere to overcome childhood nutrition problems.

“Issues and contexts associated with childhood malnutrition in high-income countries vs. low-income countries are different,” says Bhutta. “However, we would like to see strategies to address these issues affecting [the] poorest of the poor in different contexts: not necessarily only in low-income settings, but also in populations that are marginalized in high-income countries like Canada. Some of the issues in terms of diet quality, access to health services, and food insecurity are universal.”

“The advantage of such academic centres and universities is that they can bring diverse expertise and groups together,” says Bhutta. He believes that it’s impossible to address malnutrition and obesity issues adequately using a single lens. Insights from such disciplines as global child health, nutritional sciences, economics, international development, neuroscience, and others have to be part of the discussion.

Bhutta embodies the notion that answers for the complex issues in child nutrition, health, and development have to transcend borders and spheres of activity. Throughout his distinguished career, he worked in grassroots global health in remote areas of Pakistan, as well as Asian and African countries. Bhutta has advised governments and international bodies on the issues of maternal and childhood health. He has taught at leading universities around the world.

“I work in global health because I strongly believe in it,” says Bhutta. “Solutions for the poor in low-income countries should not just originate in these countries alone. International partnerships present opportunities for coming up with solutions in a lot more concerted manner. There is also the unique opportunity for bi-directional learning.”

Bhutta is also the founding director of the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health at the Aga Khan University. He is the Robert Harding Inaugural Chair in Global Child Health at the Hospital for Sick Children.

At a glance:

Zulfiqar A. Bhutta

Research Interests

  • Newborn and child survival
  • Maternal and child undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies
  • Research synthesis

In the Media


  • Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto
  • Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
  • Co-Director, Director of Research, Centre for Global Child Health, Hospital for Sick Children
  • Robert Harding Chair in Global Child Health & Policy, Centre for Global Child Health, Hospital for Sick Children
  • Founding Director, Centre of Excellence in Women & Child Health, Aga Khan University
  • Global Academic Research Member, Global Alliance for Vaccines & Immunizations Board
  • UN Appointment Member, Independent Expert Review Group


See Zulfiqar’s profile on SickKids website for more information.