DOHaD – Early Beginnings

The International DOHaD Society grew out of workshops held predominantly between researchers in Southampton, Auckland and Adelaide, who met at regular intervals to talk about ongoing research and to discuss ideas. In 1989, Professor Geoffrey Dawes convened a meeting in La Spezia, Italy. There, David Barker presented early studies from Southampton, showing the relationship between weights at birth and the prevalence of coronary heart disease in the same individuals 50- 60 years later, the Hertfordshire cohort. None of the physiologists in the room could understand the basis of this relationship. But the persistence of Barker and the insight of Dawes that there was "something interesting going on", kept the discussion alive, with informal gatherings, including in Sydney, Australia in 1991, and later workshops in Grasmere UK, Jamaica, Southampton, Vancouver and San Diego.

Some attendees of the 1991 Sydney meeting – the early beginnings of the DOHaD congresses and Society.
These became popular as the field expanded and numbers quickly outgrew the workshop format. The International Council on Fetal Origins of Adult Disease was formed and the first International Congress was held in Mumbai in 2001. Shortly thereafter, the International DOHaD Society emerged with Peter Gluckman as its first President (2003-7), followed by Mark Hanson (2007-17) and Lucilla Poston (2017-present).

Congresses have been held more or less every two years, around the globe, as interest in this crucial area of health research expanded and its importance to public health policy and practice was recognised. In 2007, the Society began the custom of giving two awards at its international Congress to a more senior researcher (the David Barker medal) and a more junior investigator (the Nick Hales Award).

Locations of DOHaD World Congresses. 2001 Mumbai, India; 2003 Brighton, UK; 2005 Toronto, Canada; 2006 Utrecht, Netherlands; 2007 Perth, Australia; 2009 Santiago, Chile; 2011 Portland, OR, USA; 2013 Singapore; 2015 Capetown, South Africa; 2017 Rotterdam, Netherlands; 2019 Melbourne, Australia; 2022 Vancouver, Canada.