Professor Alta Schutte


Fields of Research (FoR)

Cardiology (incl. Cardiovascular Diseases), Epidemiology, Preventive Medicine

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Alta (Aletta E.) Schutte is a UNSW SHARP Professor and Principal Theme Lead of Cardiac, Vascular and Metabolic Medicine in the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia; with a joint appointment as Professorial Fellow at the George Institute for Global Health. She has extensive experience in working in the field of hypertension and cardiovascular disease within low- and middle-income countries.

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Alta (Aletta E.) Schutte is a UNSW SHARP Professor and Principal Theme Lead of Cardiac, Vascular and Metabolic Medicine in the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia; with a joint appointment as Professorial Fellow at the George Institute for Global Health. She has extensive experience in working in the field of hypertension and cardiovascular disease within low- and middle-income countries.

In her previous role as the South African Research Chair (SARChI) in the Early Detection and Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Africa, hosted by the Hypertension in Africa Research Team (HART) at the North-West University and as Unit Director of Medical Research Council Extramural Unit for Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease, her research focus was to identify early markers for the development of hypertension, and ultimately prevent cardiovascular disease in the black African population. At the age of 44 years she has been the Principal Investigator of several multidisciplinary studies (POWIRS, SAfrEIC, African-PREDICT, co-PI of the South African leg of the PURE study), published over 350 papers on the topic of hypertension, and supervised over 85 postgraduate students. She is involved in numerous international consortia, such as the Global Burden of Disease study (Washington DC), the NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (London), May Measurement Month initiative of the International Society of Hypertension, IDACO/IDCARS studies (Belgium), and was one of 20 authors to join the Lancet Commission of Hypertension.

She has been acknowledged for her work as winner of the Distinguished Woman Scientist in the Natural, Engineering and Life Sciences award, presented by the South African Department of Science and Technology; the NSTF South 32 TW Kambule Award; the British Association Medal from the Southern Africa Association for the Advancement of Science (S2A3), the Meiring Naude Medal from the Royal Society of South Africa, the AU-TWAS (African Union & The World Academy of Sciences) Award, and the 2019 African Union Kwame Nkrumah Regional Award for Scientific Excellence.

She serves as Editor of the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology and on the Editorial Board of cardiovascular journals, such as Hypertension, the Journal of Hypertension, Journal of Clinical Hypertension, Journal of Human Hypertension, Current Hypertension Reports and BMC Medicine. She is a Fellow of the European Society of Cardiology and the Royal Society of South Africa; the Past President of the Southern African Hypertension Society (SAHS); and Immediate Past President of the International Society of Hypertension (ISH).

My Awards

  • Winner Distinguished Young Women Scientist in the Life Sciences award – Presented by Minister Naledi Pandor and Deputy Minister Derek Hanekom, Department of Science and Technology in 2010. ( A popular article appeared in the Mail & Guardian on 20 August 2010 describing the finalists and winners of the Women in Science awards. A radio interview was also conducted on 16 August with the South African radiostation SAfm. A popular article appeared in a women’s magazine (Rooi Rose) on the award, as well as hypertension research conducted by HART (March 2011).
  • British Association Medal from the Southern Africa Association for the Advancement of Science (S2A3) in 2011. “This medal is awarded to a person under the age of 40 years who is actively involved in scientific research and who has proved evidence by way of publications, discoveries and/or skills of outstanding capability and achievement, especially when measured by international standards. The medal is struck in sterling silver and must enjoy the status of one of the highest awards for original scientific research in South Africa”. A feature article appeared in the Beeld newspaper on 30 September 2011.
  • Founding Member of the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS) Selected in 2011 as one of 20 young scientists from all disciplines in South Africa. Inaugurated on 27 September 2011 by the Deputy Minister of Science and Technology (Mr. Derek Hanekom). A detailed report was published as a supplement in the Mail & Guardian, November 2011.
  • Meiring Naude Medal – Awarded in 2012 by the Royal Society of South Africa. The prestigious Meiring Naude Medal is awarded to outstanding young scientists under the age of 35, who have already made their mark in their chosen field and who are poised to become scientific leaders.”
  • African Union – World Academy of Science Award (AU-TWAS) Winner of this award in 2012 presented by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and the Department of Science and Technology in the category Life and Earth Sciences on 17 October 2012.
  • 200 Top Young South AfricansNominated in 2013 by the Mail & Guardian newspaper as one of the top 200 South Africans aged 35 years and younger, from all sectors (
  • Finalist of the 2012/2013 NSTF (National Science and Technology Forum)-BHP Billiton Awards in the Category: TW Kambule Award: Individual through research and its outputs (over the last five to 10 years).
  • TWAS Young Affiliate 2013 by the World Academy of Sciences and African Academy of Sciences for the period 2013-2017 (
  • Institutional North-West University Award for “International Leadership in Research” 2014.
  • Awarded Unit Director of the prestigious Extramural Unit of the South African Medical Research Council: Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease. November 2014.
  • Next Einstein Forum (NEF) Fellowship Award 2015-2016. The NEF is an AIMS initiative in partnership with the Robert Bosch Siftung and the Fellowship is a flagship program of the NEF. This program selected 15 young individuals (<40 yrs) from all disciplines in Africa that were featured at an invitation-only NEF Global Gathering in March 2016 alongside Nobel Prize Winners, Heads of State and representatives from leading global corporations, where fellows were featured, interviewed and showcased to a global audience with an expected 100 million media impressions.
  • Recipient of the Excellence in Physiology Research Award from the Physiological Society of Southern Africa, 2015, awarded biennially to a “well-established physiologist who have proven their research excellence over a period of time. The recipient should have an excellent national profile and a high level of international recognition.”
  • Winner of the TWAS-ROSSA Regional Young Scientists Prize (The World Academy of Science – Region Of Sub-Saharan Africa) for 2015. The TWAS-ROSSA award “seeks to honour an outstanding young scientist who has contributed to the development, mentoring and training of postgraduate students in various disciplines in addressing the challenges that Africa is facing e.g. Promotion of Science, Technology & Innovation (STI), participating in projects aiming to address issues pertaining to health, poverty and women’s leadership.”
  • Winner of the 2016/2017 NSTF (National Science and Technology Forum) South 32 Awards – in the Category: TW Kambule Award: Research and its outputs (by an individual over a period of up to 15 years after award of a PhD or equivalent, predominantly in South Africa).
  • Winner Distinguished Women Scientist Award in the category: Natural, Life and Engineering Sciences– Presented by Minister Naledi Pandor, Department of Science and Technology in 2017. and
  • Winner of the North-West University Award as most cited researcher of the University for 2017.
  • Laureate: The African Union Kwame Nkrumah Regional Award for Scientific Excellence for 2018. Awarded in Addis Ababa at the Awards Ceremony of the African Union Commission in February 2019. and
  • Winner of the Young African Researcher Award 2019 [Category Health and Pharmaceutical Sciences] by the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology of Egypt. (
  • Recipient of the North-West University Biennial Alumni Award 2019 for Research – awarded to outstanding alumni in recognition for their accomplishments and contribution to society. ;
  • Winner of the first ever Kifra Prize 2020 in Science, awarded in March 2020 in Nairobi, Kenya, an initiative by AIMS – biggest network of centres of Excellence in Mathematical Sciences in Africa. The prize rewards “collaborative scientific and technical breakthroughts that disrupt traditional paradigms for solving the grand challenges facing Africa and humanity”.

My Research Activities

I have a research focus on reducing blood pressure globally. Raised blood pressure is the leading modifiable risk factor for preventable death, and despite highly effective and affordable medication available, the majority of the global population with raised blood pressure remains:

  • unaware of it
  • untreated
  • and those who are treated, are not treated effectively with blood pressure remaining very high.

I am therefore involved in several programs globally to improve:

  • awareness. As Steering Committee Member of the global May Measurement Month blood pressure awareness campaign (largest campaign of any single risk factor), more than 4.2 million people have been screened to date. The valuable source of data also provides further insights on global trends and disparities.
  • better treatment of hypertension. I am a Steering Committee Member of several ongoing multi-country randomised clinical trials to determine the efficacy of a triple single pill combination therapy to reduce blood pressure, as part of research endeavours through my appointment as Professorial Fellow at The George Institute for Global Health. I am also the senior author of the 2020 International Society of Hypertension Global Practice Guidelines - with specific standards of care for low resource settings and high resource settings. As part of better treatment of hypertension I am involved with several undertakings with postgraduate students to better understand why single pill combination therapy is not widely implemented in Australia and globally (partly in collaboration with the World Health Organization).
  • better measurement of blood pressure. Due to a huge availability of blood pressure devices that are not validated for accuracy, it is extremely important to ensure that this is changed. I was an invited author of the WHO Technical Specifications report for upper-arm blood pressure devices with a cuff (2020), I am an Executive Board member of STRIDE-BP (a global authority on reporting validated blood pressure devices), and I am a member of various international consortia to improve blood pressure measurement and validation (AIM-BP, VALID-BP).
  • I am currently undertaking a body of research to determine the accuracy and value in using novel cuffless blood pressure monitoring continuously and for several days at a time.
  • Apart from these undertakings, I remain closely involved in several ongoing research projects in Africa to better understand the pathophysiological development of raised blood pressure from young ages onwards. My global interest expand to my involvement in international consortia such as the NCD-Risk Factor Collaboration and others to understand global trends.

My Research Supervision

Areas of supervision

hypertension; cardiovascular disease; population-based studies; epidemiology; biomarkers; early vascular ageing; health behaviours

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School of Population Health
Samuels Building, Level 3, Room 309
Kensington Campus
UNSW Sydney


Panel Member with Professors Julie Redfern and Gemma Figtree on "That's What I Call Science" to discuss raised blood pressure and Women's Heart Health
Was selected as a Fellow of the Next Einstein Forum
In 2019 received the Alumni Award from the North-West University in South Africa
Blood pressure measurement techniques and their clinical relevance. Webinar of the Hypertension Section of the Tele-Cardiology Working group of the International Society for Telemedicine and eHealth.
Heart Week 2021: Women's Heart Health
Selection as a Fellow of the Next Einstein Forum
Recipient of the Alumni Award from the North-West University
Speaker on the Webinar on Hypertension (Tele-Cardiology Working Group) ISTeH