July 23, 2019, by Charlotte Anscombe

Director General of the WHO visits the University of Nottingham

The Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) came back to his student roots last week when he visited the University to learn about its world-leading research and to meet nursing staff on the front-line of patient care at the Queen’s Medical Centre.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, a University Alumnus, also received an Honorary Degree recognising his outstanding contribution to world health care. Dr Tedros received a PhD in Public Health Medicine from the University in 2000.

Dr Tedros told BBC Radio Nottingham during his visit: “I have special memories here. Happy moments, and I’m glad to be back. I was away for almost 20 years but I was really connected, because I had many friends here. Some now are working with me in Geneva, so it is like I am still a part of the family.”

During his visit Dr Tedros delivered a Vice-Chancellor’s lecture with Professor Jonathan Van Tam MBE (Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Health and a Professor at the University), on ‘Facing the Future: Challenges and Opportunities for the Next 25 years of Global Public Health’.

He also visited the QMC where he met with staff and student nurses and midwives and learnt about the research and innovation happening on the frontline of care.

He also visited the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre where he met with Professor David Walker and heard about the important translational research which is being done into new treatments for brain tumours and reducing the life-changing disabilities that can occur as a result of current treatments.

Dr Tedros also got to meet staff, children and families on the Paediatric Oncology ward at the QMC.

Later in the day Dr Tedros took part in a World-Changing Research Roundtable followed by the inaugural University of Nottingham Civic graduation Dinner in the evening.

During his acceptance speech for his degree – Dr Tedros said:

“When I left Nottingham in 2000, I had no idea where it would lead me. My aim was just to go home and implement my research findings to reduce the burden of malaria in Ethiopia. But life has a habit of taking you where you least expect it. There is no doubt that my time in Nottingham played a major part in my journey so far. I am proud that the University of Nottingham is continuing to lead in some of the most important and cutting-edge areas of health research, like antimicrobial resistance, cancer, regenerative medicine and brain health. But health does not exist in a vacuum. Many of the factors that determine a person’s health lie outside the scope of the health sector: the air a person breathes, the food they eat, their housing, their education, their income, their social status, and so on. Which is why I’m delighted that health is reflected in each of this university’s research priorities.”

See the below gallery for the highlights of his visit:



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