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Leading public health expert calls for medical teaching to be protected

By Tony Stephenson
Friday 28 October 2005

Professor Haile Debas from the University of California, San Francisco, has called for medical schools and their teaching hospitals to adopt a wide range of strategies to sustain teaching excellence.

Professor Haile Debas

Speaking at Imperial College Londons Faculty of Medicine Awards Ceremony last night, Professor Debas said: "Remarkable advances in science and technology, and changing societal and patient expectations demand change, and at the heart of this change is a multidisciplinary approach to science and patient care services. As these necessary changes play out, teaching, the core mission of the medical school must be protected, appreciated and rewarded."

Professor Debas went on to discuss the transformation that is taking place in how research is done and how patients are served. He went on to describe the USAs Academy of Medical Educators movement which looks to enhance the status of teachers of medical students, promote and reward teaching excellence, foster curricular innovation, and encourage scholarship in medical education.

Professor Debas, Executive Director, UCSF Global Health Sciences, received an honorary science doctorate from Imperial in 2005.

Professor Stephen Smith with the Long Service Award winners

The Faculty of Medicine Awards Ceremony also saw the awarding of the NHS Teaching Excellence Awards and the Awards for Long Service in the Faculty.

Professor Stephen Smith, Principal of the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London, said: "This is an important night for the Faculty. Not only do we have a chance to thank long serving staff members for their many years of service and our NHS partners for their contributions to teaching, but we also have a leading figure such as Professor Debas to give a highly interesting and topical lecture."

Professor Debas is one of the world's leading experts in epidemiology and public health. A specialist in gastrointestinal physiology, gastrointestinal peptides and brain-gut interactions, he has had a highly distinguished career combining academic surgery and academic management. Professor Debas is also The Maurice Galante Distinguished Professor of Surgery Chancellor and Dean Emeritus, University of California, San Francisco.

The 2005 winners of the NHS Teaching Excellence Awards are Dr Hugh Davies, Central Middlesex; Dr Iain Lindsay, Charing Cross; Dr Deborah Cunningham, St Marys; Dr Dafydd Thomas, St Marys; Dr Mark Bower, Chelsea & Westminster; Miss Sophie Renton, Northwick Park; Dr Simon Dubrey, Hillingdon; Mr JK Ng, Hillingdon; Dr Simon Michaelson Central & North-West London Mental Health Trust and Dr Fiona Regan, Hammersmith Hospital.

Imperial staff who received Awards for 30 years of service were Mrs Mary Ellis, Miss Catherine Dewar, Professor Steve Bloom Opens in new window, Dr Yen Ho Opens in new window, Professor Lord Robert Winston and Miss Anne Smith.

Imperial staff who received Awards for 25 years of service were Ms Susan English, Professor Alan Boobis Opens in new window, Professor Nicholas Severs Opens in new window, Professor David Lane Opens in new window, Mr Graham Storey, Dr Jeremy Batten, Miss Julia Cork, Mrs Wilma McQueen, Ms Teresa Dunne, Mr Richard Montgomery and Miss Jennifer Mitchell.