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expert reaction to professor dame sally davies stepping down as CMO for England

Reactions to news that Professor Dame Sally Davies is stepping down as Chief Medical Officer for England.

Professor Fiona Watt, Executive Chair of the Medical Research Council, said:

“Dame Sally has had an extraordinary impact in so many areas.  I would highlight three of these among many: her huge contribution to biomedical research – particularly in the creation of NIHR; her leadership role in promoting women’s careers in biomedical research, not least through the Athena SWAN awards; and her highlighting of the global importance of tackling antimicrobial resistance.  She has been an important mentor to so many people and I wish her every success in her new role.”

Professor Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said:

“Dame Sally’s achievements as Chief Medical Officer cannot be overestimated. Her expertise, determination and passion have been the catalyst for policies which are improving the health of people in the UK and around the world. Sally has driven antimicrobial resistance to the top of the global health agenda, and under her stewardship the UK is more protected from dangerous disease outbreaks than ever before.

“A true woman leader in global health, she continues to inspire the next generation of researchers which are needed to address global health challenges. Sally has been, and will remain, a great friend of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. I wish her every success in her new role.”

Professor Sir Mark Walport, CEO, UK Research and Innovation, said:

“I wish Professor Dame Sally Davies every success in her new role. I have worked with Sally for many years and greatly admire her tenacity and energy when it comes to ensuring the voices of clinicians, researchers and above all the public and patients are heard. She has been an extraordinary and influential Chief Medical Officer, putting antimicrobial resistance firmly on the global health agenda and heralding a new way to deliver genomic and personalised medicine within the NHS under her leadership of the 100,000 Genomes Project.”

Dr Jeremy Farrar, Director of Wellcome said:

“Dame Sally Davies has been an inspirational Chief Medical Officer. She has redefined the role and been unafraid to embrace challenge or take on vested interests to drive through essential policies to improve public health for all – both in the UK and globally. Notable among her remarkable achievements are ensuring research is an integral responsibility of the NHS, which led to set-up up of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR); her total commitment to diversity and inclusion through Athena Swan; and her global leadership on drug-resistant infections.  But Sally has been so much more. She is a generous mentor with a great sense of humour and unique capacity to persuade others to get things done.”

Professor Graham Lord, Vice-President and Dean, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, University of Manchester, said:

Sally has transformed the way the world views translational research. A major part of her legacy whilst in public office was the creation of NIHR in 2006, which is now the largest funder of patient focused research in the country. She has created world-leading infrastructure within the NHS and collaborating Universities that really is the envy of the world.”

Professor Sir Robert Lechler PMedSci, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences, said:

“I am sorry to hear that Dame Sally is standing down as Chief Medical Officer. She has played a fantastic role in taking research right to the heart of government to tackle health issues in the UK and globally. Her wisdom and leadership have been a great benefit in shaping the UK governments response to health emergencies, and ensuring society is best prepared for the new advances in health research and technology. I am pleased to hear she will continue contributing to the mission to fight against antimicrobial resistance, a challenge she has embraced with passion and commitment. She has been a great role model as the first female CMO supporting and inspiring the next generation of talented researchers.”

Sir Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum Group, said: 

“Dame Sally Davies has been a great friend to the Science Museum, most notably in helping to inspire our Superbugs exhibition about the emerging threat of antibiotic resistance, which is about to tour India and China. This is one small example of how her passion and communication skills have made a huge difference. I wish Dame Sally all the best in her new role as Master of Trinity College from all five museums in the Science Museum Group.”

Steve Bates OBE, CEO of the BioIndustry Association (BIA), said:

“The BIA wish Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally every success in her new role as Master of Trinity College Cambridge in October. Not only has she brought anti-microbial resistance to the global stage, but by through establishing the NIHR she has had a seismic impact on the life science capability of the UK.”

Declared interests

None received. 

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