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Royal College to welcome 10 leading figures at Diploma ceremonies

01 Sep 2023

Distinguished figures from medicine, science, business and higher education will be made Honorary Fellows of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow next week.
President’s Medals will be presented to lead vaccinologist behind Oxford Covid vaccine, and refugee doctors’ medical facilitators

Distinguished figures from medicine, science, business and higher education will be made Honorary Fellows of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow next week.

President’s Medals will be presented to lead vaccinologist behind Oxford Covid vaccine, and refugee doctors’ medical facilitators.

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow will welcome seven new Honorary Fellows and award three President’s Medals on Tuesday next week (5 September.)

The awards will be made during two ceremonies in recognition of the individuals’ outstanding contributions to health, education, the economy and society.

The guests will join the College’s newest Members and Fellows at the College’s summer Diploma ceremonies, which will take place at the University of Glasgow’s Bute Hall.

Mike McKirdy, President of the College, said: “It is a great pleasure to be welcoming 10 leading figures to the College, all of whom are improving lives around the world through their work in health, education and society as a whole.

“As the UK’s only multidisciplinary Royal College, we are incredibly proud of the impact our College community is making by bringing together different perspectives and experiences to tackle global challenges.

“Our newest Members, Fellows, Honorary Fellows and Medal Winners build on a great legacy of innovation and collaboration over almost 425 years.”

The Honorary Fellows are:

Sir Tom Hunter, leading philanthropist and entrepreneur. Sir Tom started his first business by selling trainers out of the back of a van. His company Sport’s Division became the largest independent sports retailer in Europe. After selling the business in 1998, he went on to establish the Hunter Foundation and to date, has invested in excess of £100 million, supporting projects with a focus on entrepreneurship, education, opportunity for all and poverty reduction. Through The Hunter Foundation, Sir Tom has given £12.5 million to the Kiltwalk, a national sponsored walking event for Scottish charities, bringing their total raised funds over the last 7 years to £37 million, distributed across 3,000 charities.

Professor Cathal J. Kelly, Vice-Chancellor & CEO and Registrar of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, University of Medicine & Health Sciences. Over the last decade, RCSI has significantly grown its educational, research and outreach activities. This has included the launch of new Schools of Population Health, Healthcare Management, the Centre for Positive Health Sciences and the Institute for Global Surgery. Currently, it is ranked no 1 globally, by the Times Higher Education, for UN Sustainable Development Goal 3: Good Health & Well-being.

Professor Meegahalande Durage Lamawansa, Vice-Chancellor and Chair Professor of Surgery, University of Peradeniya and Consultant General and Paediatric Transplant Surgeon, Teaching Hospital, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. He was the founder Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Wayamba University and helped establish the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences at the University of Peradeniya. He also established the first paediatric kidney transplant program in Sri Lanka at the Teaching Hospital, Peradeniya. More recently, he established a paediatric liver transplant program at the same hospital.

Chris Lavy, Professor of Orthopaedic and Tropical Surgery and a Fellow of Green Templeton College at the University of Oxford. In 1996, Professor Lavy left the UK to work in Malawi with Christian medical charity CBM International. Since then, he has helped to set up two orthopaedic teaching hospital and research centres in Malawi and Zambia. He also set up Malawi’s national orthopaedic surgical and clinical officer training programmes and co-founded the College of Surgeons of East Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA) in which he now serves as Co-Director.

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde, and President of the Royal Academy of Engineering. Sir Jim was appointed to the Rolls-Royce Chair in Electrical Power Systems in 1993, then became Director of the Rolls Royce University Technology Centre in Electrical System. He Co-chairs Scotland’s Energy Advisory Board with the First Minister and is Chair of the independent Glasgow Economic Leadership Board. He holds several non-executive business appointments with organisations including the Weir Group plc, Scottish Power plc and the UK National Physical Laboratory. He was awarded a knighthood in 2012 for services to engineering, education and the economy.

Professor Rowan W Parks, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh; Professor of Surgical Sciences, University of Edinburgh; and Honorary Consultant Surgeon, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. He was appointed a Senior Lecturer in Surgery and Honorary Consultant Surgeon in the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh in 1999, promoted to Reader in Surgery in 2006 and awarded a personal chair as Professor of Surgical Sciences at the University of Edinburgh in 2010. He is also General Secretary of the International Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association. He is Past-President of the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland, Past-President of the Great Britain & Ireland Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association and Past-Director of the James IV Association.

Dr Adar Poonawalla CEO, Serum Institute of India. His commitment to “health for all” and affordable prices for vaccines has been instrumental in making them universally accessible. The company has a production capacity of 4bn doses annually, reaching more than 170 countries with life-saving vaccines. During the Covid-19 pandemic, he was the backbone of a coalition which took on the responsibility of global vaccination efforts – comprising of governments and worldwide institutions like the WHO, GAVI and UNICEF.

The President’s Medal winners are:

Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert, Said Professor of Vaccinology; Pandemic Sciences Institute; Nuffield Department of Medicine; University of Oxford. She initiated and led the rapid production and development of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine (Vaxzevria) in 2020. One of the first vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 available in the UK, it has since been used in over 180 countries. Her team’s work developing a safe, successful vaccine which was easy to store and distribute played a crucial role in pandemic recovery worldwide, and is credited with saving millions of lives. She was made a Dame in 2021 in recognition of her work during the pandemic. Her book, Vaxxers, about the development of Vaxzevria, is a Sunday Times bestseller. Professor Gilbert was awarded the President’s Medal in 2022, but will receive it at this year’s ceremony.

Dr Patrick T. Grant, Refugee Doctors’ Medical Facilitator. He studied at St Andrews University and the University of Manchester, before training in general surgery and higher specialist training in emergency medicine. He was as a consultant at Glasgow’s Western Infirmary from 1989 until it closed in 2015, moving to Glasgow Royal Infirmary before retiring in 2016. He was actively involved in teaching, particularly through Life Support courses and trauma management. He was Medical Director of the Scottish Trauma Audit Group (STAG), leading improvements in patient care and service delivery. After retirement, he volunteered at the Bridges Programme, which works with refugees and asylum seekers. With support from the College, along with colleague David Ritchie, he teaches refugee doctors and supports them to work in the NHS.

Dr David Andrew William Ritchie, Refugee Doctors’ Medical Facilitator. He graduated from the University of Aberdeen in 1977. Early in his career, he undertook a number of general posts throughout the UK, developing an interest in immediate care. Having completed training in Emergency Medicine, he worked as a Consultant at the Victoria Infirmary in Glasgow, until it closed in 2015. He then worked at the new Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in the emergency department until retiring in 2019. He was invited to join the Bridges Programme by the late Amanda Crawford and Patrick Grant, where he provides support to refugee doctors through education and advisory services to prepare them for working in the NHS.

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