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The great ancient physician and Talmudic scholar Maimonides (1135-1204) may well deserve credit as the first diabetes epidemiologist! He observed in his travels that diabetes was seldom seen in "cold" Europe where as it was frequently encountered in "warm" Africa (1). However, indisputably, it was Kelly Westís book the "Epidemiology of Diabetes and its Vascular Complications" (2) published in 1978 which saw epidemiology of diabetes coming of age. The book with its over 2300 references brought together most of the contributions, clinical and population-based on the subject of diabetes epidemiology and highlighted the many gaps in our diabetes epidemiology knowledge at that time.

At the time, West wrote that even he didnít realize that his own research constituted epidemiology until he was informed of this by a "real" epidemiologist in 1966! (2)