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Sir Chris Whitty Receives Honorary Fellowship

03 Apr 2023

Sir Chris Whitty has been admitted to the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow as an Honorary Fellow.

Sir Chris Whitty has been admitted to The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow as an Honorary Fellow. He received the Honorary Fellowship at a Diploma Ceremony hosted in the College on 30 March to commemorate his extensive contribution to the field of epidemiology and public health. The College recognises Sir Chris’s integral role in combatting the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK and continued commitment to protect health as the Chief Medical Officer for England.

As the son of a British diplomat, Sir Chris was born in Gloucester in 1966 and lived with his family in Nigeria and Malawi. He joins other family members as pioneers in medical history with his maternal grandmother, a leading obstetrician, setting up the first maternity hospital in Ghana in 1928. He returned to the UK as a child to be educated, gaining his medical degree in 1991 from Pembroke College, Oxford and specialising in epidemiology and tropical medicine at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 1996.

Sir Chris is a practising NHS consultant at University College London Hospitals and the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, as well as being a visiting professor at Gresham College. He committed to continuing work at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as Professor of Public and International Health up until his appointment as Chief Medical Officer in 2019. During this time, Sir Chris championed research of infectious disease in the UK and Africa. He also became the Director of the Malaria Centre and in 2008 conducted an extensive research programme studying the disease in Africa.

Alongside academic research, Sir Chris has served as a principal UK Government advisor on infectious disease and public health, managing many unprecedented crises. During this time, as Chief Scientific Adviser and director of research for the Department for International Development (DFID) he led in designing the UK Government’s supportive response to the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, including the set up of voluntary self-isolation centres for suspected cases. In 2018, he chaired the SAGE response to the Salisbury Nerve Agent Poisonings while serving as the interim Government Chief Scientific Advisor. However, Sir Chris faced his greatest challenge during the arrival of the global Covid-19 pandemic. As Chief Medical Advisor, he was responsible for designing the UK Government’s response and steering the nation out of the crisis. Faced with immeasurable difficultly, he was coined as “the most impactful policymaker in modern times” by the BBC. Despite the pressure, his dedication as a physician to the care of patients remained, as he treated those suffering with Covid-19 during our first winter lockdown in 2020. He was recognised for his role in the 2022 New Year’s Honours List, awarding him Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath.

The College celebrates Sir Chris Whitty’s dedication to furthering research of infectious disease and profound contribution to protecting public health by awarding this Honorary Fellowship.

Category: College

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