Dr. Azeez Butali

Dr Azeez Butali was born in Lagos, Nigeria and received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Lagos in Nigeria in 2001. In 2002, he completed a year of internship and another year of national service in 2003. Recognizing the limited opportunities for postgraduate training in craniofacial anomalies in Africa, and with incredible determination and dedication, he traveled to Scotland in the United Kingdom in 2006 where he obtained a PhD in genetic epidemiology in 2010 at the WHO collaborating Center on Craniofacial Anomalies, University of Dundee. In 2009, he began a postdoctoral fellowship in craniofacial genetics at the University of Iowa (UI) before joining the UI faculty as a Professor at the College of Dentistry in 2013. His primary research area of interest is genetics and genomics studies of complex traits in Africa. Dr Butali’s research projects are funded by the NIH and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Dr Butali has received many national and international awards. These awards include being named as a recipient of the Dental Scientist Career Development Award (K99/R00) from the NIH in 2012, as one of the first two dentists to receive the Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Award in the USA in 2015 and notable junior researcher by the College of Dentistry, UI from  2013-2016.

Dr. Butali directs the African Craniofacial Anomalies Network (AfriCRAN), collaboration between scientists in Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, and Rwanda. He is currently collaborating with researchers in Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, South Africa, Rwanda, Kenya, Dundee (Scotland), Seattle (WA), Pittsburgh (PA), and Puerto Rico.  He is a member of the American Cleft Palate Association; the Society of Craniofacial Geneticists; the American Society for Human Genetics; the American Association for Dental Research, the International Association for Dental Research, the Pan African Association for Cleft Lip and Palate, and Global Oral Health Inequalities Research Agenda (GOHIRN).

His passion for helping children in developing countries spans over a decade. From 2006-2008, he played a surrogate role by helping to ensure free treatment for children with cleft lip and palate in Nigeria through funding from the Smile Train (a US based Charity). This project has continued until today.  He is also actively involved in human capacity building towards improving health care for children in Africa. Notably, is the Virginia Iowa Nigeria Speech Initiative (VINSI) which he co-founded in 2012. This program trains speech screeners for children with cleft lip and palate in Nigeria. As at 2016, six speech trainers have been trained in Virginia, USA. Since 2015, in collaboration with Dr Ekhaguere, doctors and nurses from Nigeria visit the University of Iowa Children Hospital for neonatal intensive care training.

As CEO of  Healthcare Trends, Dr Butali will bring his passion, experience and network to bear because of his strong conviction that “No Child born alive, deserves to die from preventable diseases or circumstances”