Walter Willett

Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition

Department of Nutrition

Department of Epidemiology

655 Huntington Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02115
Phone: 617.432.4680

Walter C. Willett, M.D., Dr. P.H., is Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  Dr. Willett studied food science at Michigan State University, and graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School before obtaining a Masters and Doctorate in Public Health from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.  Dr. Willett has focused much of his work over the last 40 years on the development and evaluation of methods, using both questionnaire and biochemical approaches, to study the effects of diet on the occurrence of major diseases.  He has applied these methods starting in 1980 in the Nurses’ Health Studies I and II and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.  Together, these cohorts that include nearly 300,000 men and women with repeated dietary assessments, are providing the most detailed information on the long-term health consequences of food choices.

Dr. Willett has published over 1,700 original research papers and reviews, primarily on lifestyle risk factors for heart disease, cancer, and other conditions and has written the textbook, Nutritional Epidemiology, published by Oxford University Press, now in its third edition. He also has written four books for the general public. Dr. Willett is the most cited nutritionist internationally.  He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the recipient of many national and international awards for his research.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • 1970,  Summa Cum Laude, University of Michigan Medical School
  • 1994,  Distinguished Alumnus Award, Michigan State University
  • 1994,  American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Award
  • 1996,  Distinguished Achievement Award, American Society for Preventive Oncology
  • 1996,  John Snow Award, APHA
  • 1998,  National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine
  • 2000,  AACR-ACS Award for Research Excellence in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention
  • 2001,  The Charles S. Mott Prize. General Motors Cancer Research Foundation
  • 2003,  Linus Pauling Institute Prize for Health Research
  • 2003,  Linus Pauling Functional Medicine Award
  • 2003,  Association of American Medical Colleges 2003 David E. Rogers Award
  • 2003,  Komen Foundation’s Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction
  • 2004,  Honda Prize for Echo-Technology
  • 2005,  Bristol Myers Squibb/Mead Johnson Award for Distinguished Achievement in Nutrition Research
  • 2005,  Medal of Honor, American Cancer Society
  • 2006,  Harvard School of Public Health Alumni Award of Merit
  • 2006,  Ancel Keys Lecturer, American Heart Association
  • 2007,  University of Michigan Alumni Achievement Award
  • 2008,  Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • 2011,  Fellow, The American Society for Nutrition
  • 2012,  International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Medal of Honour
  • 2012,  Seelig Magnesium Award 2012
  • 2014,  Bloomberg Manulife Prize for the Promotion of Active Health, McGill University

Education

M.D., 1970, University of Michigan Medical School
M.P.H. 1973, Harvard School of Public Health
Dr.P.H., 1980, Harvard School of Public Health, Epidemiology