Medical, Biomedical and Health Sciences
George Davey Smith (1959) – Professor of Clinical Epidemiology, University of Bristol, United Kingdom – has been able to bring the relationship between cause and effect in public health into sharper focus than ever before. For example, he showed the adverse effects of alcohol consumption on cardiovascular diseases.
He pioneered Mendelian randomisation, a method that uses genetic variation to identify causal relationships and that is now used in many different disciplines. His article explaining how the funnel plot can be used to detect bias in meta-analyses – now a standard technique – has been cited more than 21,000 times.
Davey-Smith has made numerous contributions to research on the effectiveness and ineffectiveness of health care and health policy. He has also shown that socio-economic circumstances have a huge impact on health and are the cause of major health inequalities.