Baroness Helena Kennedy Receives Honorary Fellowship
03 Apr 2023
Baroness Helena Kennedy has been admitted to The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow as an Honorary Fellow.
Baroness Helena Kennedy has been admitted to the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow as an Honorary Fellow. Baroness Kennedy received the Honorary Fellowship at the diploma ceremony hosted in the College on 30 March to commemorate her longstanding achievements as a barrister and through her many positions, a commitment to furthering social justice in medicine and upholding the rights of patients.
Helena Kennedy, Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws is a Glasgow native, born to committed Labour Party activists; her father was heavily involved in trade unions and worked as a printer for the Daily Record. Baroness Kennedy began a life-long career as a lawyer after being called to the bar in 1972 and would continue her family’s legacy in politics and journalism, with a dedicated focus on women’s rights and the law. This was reflected in her contributions to broadcast journalism throughout the 1980s, including presentation of the BBC programmes Blind Justice and A Raw Deal on Medical Negligence. In 1997, Baroness Kennedy was elevated as a Labour Peer in the House of Lords where she continued to champion civil liberties and was named by The Spectator as Parliamentarian of the Year in 2000. She was created a member of the French Académie Universelle des Cultures by the French government and a Cavalier di Gran Croce (Italy’s highest honour) by the President of Italy in 2004.
Baroness Kennedy is currently the Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University and holds Honorary Fellowships at the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. She chaired the 2004 enquiry conducted by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health into Sudden Unexpected Death in Childhood that outlined an integral multi-agency approach to care and investigation. She has also had a longstanding commitment to global health through her work with Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) of which she is an Honorary Patron. The charity advocates in the UK and internationally to protect Palestine’s health system and supports the delivery of practical medical care, including strengthening emergency and complex care, psychological services, and disability support.
Recently, Baroness Kennedy led an independent review published in 2021 for the Royal College of Surgeons of England which investigated the attainment gap in surgery and diversity in leadership. The report was fundamental to placing diversity at the core of the College’s new strategy and continues to promote equality in the profession. Emphasising the importance of equality in education is a key principle of The Helena Kennedy Foundation, created based on her seminal report Learning Works, which supports widening access to higher education and adult learning by providing bursaries and mentoring to assist the most disadvantaged in society.
The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow recognises Baroness Kennedy’s contribution to improving medical policy and practice and dedication as a Peer to campaigning for equality, social justice, and human rights by awarding this Honorary Fellowship.
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