Prof. Amos Laar, 14 others inducted Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences fellows

Professor of Public Health at the University of Ghana, Amos Laar, has been inducted fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences(GAAS.)

The Professor was inducted together with 14 others on November 16, 2022, on account of what the GAAS described as his “scholarship in the practice and development of the frontiers of public health in Ghana.

Speaking after the induction ceremony, Prof Amos Laar described the feat as an honour done to him and his colleague inductees as huge and a responsibility to do more for society.

“To every huge honour comes huge responsibility. We have been honoured, and now it is our responsibility to not let down the Founder of the Academy, to not let down Ghana, to not let down science, and to not let down mother earth,” Prof. Laar said.

Other fellows are the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering Sciences of the University of Ghana (UG) and Quiz Mistress of the National Science and Maths Quiz (NSMQ), Professor Elsie Effah Kaufmann; lawyer and social activist, Ace Anan Ankomah; First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Maxwell Opoku-Afari, and the Director of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), Prof. Dorothy Yeboah-Manu.

Former Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, UG, Prof. Samuel Agyei-Mensah; a renowned ethno-musicologist and former keyboard player for the legendary musician, Nana Kwame Ampadu, Prof. Kwasi Ampene; a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan, USA, Prof. Herbert Graves Winful; a former lecturer in Chemistry at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Prof. Evans Adei; a nutrition scientist and Prof. Richmond Nii Okai Aryeetey.

The rest are a Deputy Director of Students Affairs, KNUST, Prof. Marian Asantewaa Nkansah; a former Head of the Department of Pathology, UG, Prof. Jehoram Tei Anim; a former Chief Director of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Prof. Bruce Banoeng-Yakubo; the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, University of Cape Coast (UCC), Prof. Sarah Darkwa, and a Professor at the Department of Chemistry, UG, Prof. Dorcas Osei-Safo.

Established in 1959, GAAS’s mission has been to encourage the creation, acquisition, dissemination and utilization of knowledge for national development through the promotion of learning, driven by its 4 main core values which are relevance, integrity, professionalism, and excellence.

It aims to promote the study, extension, and dissemination of knowledge of the arts and sciences, to establish and maintain proper standards of endeavor in all fields of the arts and sciences, to recognize outstanding contributions to the advancement of the arts and sciences in Ghana, to contribute actively to the development of Ghana and Africa generally by examining and addressing crucial issues of development, and, to do such other things as are conducive or incidental to the attainment of all or any of the foregoing objects.

With the exception of the twenty Foundation Fellows including Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, all Fellows of the Academy have to be elected following the procedure laid down in the Society’s Executive Instrument of Establishment of 1963 and its Decree, 1968.

The Decree stipulates that “Any citizen of Ghana or any person resident in Ghana who, in the opinion of the Council, has made a significant contribution to any branch of the arts or sciences may be elected a Fellow by a General Meeting of Fellows called by the President [of the Council] for that purpose…….”

Achievements of Prof Amos Laar

Amos Laar, is a Professor of Public Health Nutrition at the University of Ghana School of Public Health, Legon. His research and professional practice straddle three distinct, yet related areas of public health Bioethics Public, Health Nutrition and Social Public Health. Among others, he has and continues to examine how social forces, commercial forces, and structural violence influence realization of health.

He is an active researcher having led over 20 successful research grants at the University of Ghana. He is the Principal Investigator of the IDRC-funded MEALS4NCDs project’, which is providing Measurement, Evaluation, Accountability and Leadership Support for NCDs prevention in Ghana, as well as the IDRC/Rockefeller Foundation-funded Healthier Diets 4 Healthy Lives (HD4HL) Project’, which aims to build evidence and mobilize multi-stakeholder actions toward policies for healthier and equitable consumer food environments that reduce the double burden of malnutrition in Ghana.

Prof Laar is also the Co-PI and Ghana-lead of a project that has facilitated the establishment of a master’s programme in bioethics at the University of Ghana School of Public Health – the first-ever bioethics programme in Ghana.

Prof. Laar has published theoretically driven, methodologically varied, and policy-relevant articles on the subject of health and human rights, pandemic ethics, food systems, food environments, and nutrition-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Currently, his scholarly works include over 90 scientific publications. He has enormous experience in teaching and mentoring with cultural humility – having taught at various levels (bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral) at several universities across the world. He has supervised over 70 graduate and undergraduate students from universities in Africa (e.g. University of Ghana, University of South Africa), Europe (e.g. University of Sheffield, UK), Asia (e.g. Nagasaki University of Japan), and North America (e.g. University of South Carolina, USA).

In service, he has advised the Government of Ghana on various aspects of public health and nutrition. He has also been engaged internationally, including participating in the 66th Session of the UN-General Assembly Meeting in New York, 2011. In 2019, he was recognized in the Lancet (Biomedical Journal), for his efforts at combating nutrition-related NCDs in Ghana: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/landia/article/PIIS2213-8587(19)30216-5/fulltext

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