Simon I Hay, DPhil, DSc, FMedSci, is a Professor in the Department of Health Metrics Sciences, in the School of Medicine at the University of Washington and Director of the Local Burden of Disease (LBD) group at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). His career has focused on spatial and temporal aspects of infectious disease epidemiology to support the more rational implementation of disease control. He now leads the LBD group, an international collaboration of researchers, from a wide variety of academic disciplines, with the objective of improving the outputs and outcomes of infectious disease cartography.

His best known work is centred on accurately defining human populations at risk of malaria and its burden at global, regional and national scales through the co-founding of the Malaria Atlas Project. Most recently at IHME, with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, he has embarked on a project to expand these techniques to a much wider range of diseases of the tropics and ultimately harmonize this mapping with the IHME global burden of disease effort. 

Prof. Hay obtained his doctorates from the University of Oxford, where he remains a member of congregation. He has published over >400 peer-reviewed articles and other contributions, including two research monographs; these are cited collectively more than 14,000 times each year, leading to an h-index of >119 and >68,000 lifetime citations.

Prof. Hay was awarded the Scientific Medal (2008) of the Zoological Society of London and the Back Award (2012) of the Royal Geographical Society for research contributing to public health policy. He has also been awarded the Bailey K. Ashford Medal (2013) of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and the Chalmers Memorial Medal (2015) of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (RSTMH), both for exceptional contributions to tropical medicine.

Prof. Hay has been elected to the Board of Trustees of the RSTMH, and served as its 52nd President (2013-2015). He has been elected to the fellowship of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (FASTMH), the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (FRCP Edin) and the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci).

The Lancet Infectious Diseases published a biographical sketch, Simon Hay: mapping the world’s ills, summarising Prof. Hay’s education, early career and influences. His work on mapping malaria and other vector-borne diseases, and more recently adding a geospatial dimension to the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study, is described. Prof. Hay’s future goal is to create high spatial resolution maps for all the diseases, risks, and injuries covered by the GBD, which could be possible in the next 10 years with advances in technology. Influential colleagues in the field, Peter Hotez and Jeremy Farrar acknowledge Prof. Hay’s geospatial vision in presenting complex data sets in an accessible way that has led to policy changes worldwide.