Lorentz Irgens (1942-), MD, PhD is a Norwegian epidemiologist and leprologist of international standing. He is currently Professor of Preventative Medicine and chairs a research group on Registry Based Epidemiology based at the University of Bergen, and Director of the Medical Birth Registry of Norway (MBRN), for the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
Lorentz Irgens gained his MD from the University of Bergen in 1967. After internships in Internal Medicine, Surgery and General Practice, he carried out National Service as a Medical Officer in the Royal Norwegian Navy in 1969. From 1970 he has been continually employed at the Institute of Hygiene and Social Medicine, University of Bergen as Research Fellow (1970-5), Assistant Professor of Preventative Medicine (1975), Associate Professor (1976-1987) and Professor (1987-). Irgens also gained a PhD from the University in 1980. Irgens has been invovled in a number of academic collaborations. From 1976 to 2000 he carried out epidemiological research on the prevalence of the mycobacteria in western Norway with Professor J Kazda. Between 1980 and 1985 he contributed towards a WHO project to establish and analyse a national leprosy register in Portugal, resulting in a article co-authored with MF Lechat (Louvain University, Belgium) and others. Between 1980 and 1993 he also collaborated with Professor DR Peterson of the University of Washington in research and publications on SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
Irgens was on the President’s Advisory Board for the ILA from 1978 to 1988 and the Board of Directors of the Armauer Hansen Research Institute in Addis Ababa from 1984 to 1989. Since 1980 he has served as a consultant on leprosy to the WHO.
From 1985 he has developed a strong research agenda on perinatal health, and is a member of several national and international research groups and committees concerned with birth defects. In 1986 he was appointed Director of the Medical Birth Registry of Norway (MBRN), part of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and, in 1987, he became a full Professor of Preventative Medicine at the University of Bergen. He founded the Nordic Association of Medical Birth Registries (NOMBIR) in 1996. Through the 1990s Irgens participated in research projects based in Norway, Denmark and Sweden, and chaired several European groups involved in the surveillance of birth defects. In his capacity as Director of the MBRN he has continued to oversee substantial research on perinatal risk factors.
Irgens has published extensively on leprosy, perinatal health and preventative medicine.