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NIDCR Mourns Special Expert Barmes

Dr. David Edward Barmes, special expert for international health, Office of International Health, NIDCR, died Jan. 13 while vacationing with his family at Manyana, New South Wales, Australia. He was 69.

Dr. David Edward Barmes

NIDCR recruited Barmes in 1996 to help refine its global research agenda and develop strategies for addressing research questions that require global approaches. Most recently, his work focused on building international networks for research on noma, craniofacial anomalies, fluoride and health disparities. Prior to joining the institute, he had a long career with the World Health Organization.

A native of Australia, Barmes graduated from St. Joseph's Nudgee College in 1948 and in 1953 earned a B.D.Sc. at the University of Queensland. After more than 2 years with the Queensland department of health and home affairs, he was appointed dental officer in the then territory of Papua New Guinea. During this period, he performed extensive baseline epidemiology and was awarded the D.D.Sc. degree from the University of Queensland. He also established a school for dental technicians that later added curricula for dentists. The school eventually became the dental school at the University of Papua New Guinea.

In 1967, he was recruited to the secretariat of the WHO in Geneva as dental epidemiologist. In 1973, he was promoted to chief of the Oral Health Programme. In both roles, he led the development of a series of oral epidemiological manuals for data gathering that set the standard globally and provided the foundation for a global databank. Barmes led two WHO international collaborative studies of oral health systems — one involving 11 countries and another involving seven countries. Those studies provided common methodological strategies to assess oral health delivery and set the tone for today's efforts to build networks of researchers across countries and across scientific disciplines. At WHO, he served on many planning and program committees in areas outside oral health.

He is survived by his wife Rosemary and their five children, Catherine, Jane, Mark, David and Elizabeth; his sons and daughters-in-law, Terence, Gillian, and Suzanna; and seven grandchildren. Expressions of sympathy may take the form of contributions to: Friends of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 1555 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20036.

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