Sir Kenneth Calman, August 2009

Sir Kenneth Calman
School Of Medicine Keynote Speaker – August 13, 2009


Sir Kenneth Calman is Chancellor of the University of Glasgow. He was born on Christmas Day 1941 and educated at Allan Glen’s School in Glasgow. He entered medical school in 1959 and took two years out during this course to gain an Honours Degree in Biochemistry. He graduated in medicine (with commendation) in 1967 having obtained a number of distinctions and prizes throughout this course. During the latter part of his undergraduate medical career he developed an interest in dermatology and graduated PhD in 1970. Following his house jobs he moved into the Department of Surgery in Glasgow and proceeded to the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons and an MD Thesis with Honours on Organ Preservation. His clinical interests at this time were in General Surgery, Vascular Surgery and Transplantation. In 1972, he was the MRC Clinical Research Fellow at the Chester Beatty Research Institute in London and returned to Glasgow in 1974 as Professor of Oncology. He remained in that post for 10 years developing particular interests in nutrition, chemotherapy, cancer education, counselling, and patient support groups.

In 1984 he became Dean of Postgraduate Medicine and Professor of Postgraduate Medical Education at the University of Glasgow and Consultant Physician with an interest in palliative care at Victoria Infirmary, Glasgow. During this time he was involved in developing medical education projects and in the supervising of medical education for those in training in the West of Scotland.

In 1989 he was appointed Chief Medical Officer at the Scottish Home and Health Department and in September 1991 he became Chief Medical Officer in the Department of Health in London. He was a member of the Executive Board of the World Health Organisation, and its Chairman from 1998-9. He was Chairman of the European Environment and Health Committee from 1993-8. He was Vice Chancellor and Warden at the University of Durham from 1998 until 2007. He was a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics and the Statistics Commission until 2007. He Chaired the NHS Genetics Education Steering Group.

He is currently a member of the Board of the British Library and Chairs the National Cancer Research Institute. He is President of the British Medical Association and a member of the Board of Cancer Research UK. He is a Fellow of numerous Royal Colleges and Faculties and in 1979 was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He has written 7 books and over 100 scientific papers. His current academic interests are in risk, storytelling, ethics and education. Sir Kenneth has a number of outside interests including the History of Medicine, Scottish Literature, Cartoons and Gardening. His most recent books include “A study of story telling, humour and learning in Medicine” and “A history of medical education” He lives in Glasgow and the Island of Arran and is married with 3 grown up children and a large dog.