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Professor Rosalind Smyth


Director, Institute of Child Health, University College London, and Honorary Consultant Respiratory Paediatrician, Great Ormond Street Hospital. Professor Ros Smyth was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland and studied medicine at Clare College, Cambridge University obtaining a BA in 1980. When she applied to Cambridge at the beginning of her A ‘level year, Ros missed the closing date, and no-one from her school had been there before. Ros rapidly prepared herself for the entrance exams and got in by the skin of her teeth. The experience of getting into Cambridge, her best career decision, has taught her to seize opportunities, which is important for a successful career. Ros then attended Westminster Medical School, London and graduated in 1983. She trained in paediatrics in London, Cambridge and Liverpool and completed her MRCP(UK) in 1986. Ros then undertook a period of research leading to an MD in 1993 and was accredited in paediatrics with a special interest in respiratory medicine in 1995. Until September 2012, when Ros moved to Great Ormond Street Hospital, she was Professor of Paediatric Medicine at the University of Liverpool and Executive Director of Liverpool Health Partners. From 2005-2012 she was Director of the NIHR Medicines for Children Research Network, which supported all clinical research involving children in England. In Liverpool, Ros was closely involved with the development of the MB ChB curriculum and was a Member of the Curriculum Review Board (2000-2) and then its Chair (2002-4). She had specific responsibility for Integrated Clinical Academic Training, which included managing the interface between undergraduate and postgraduate medical education and structuring the postgraduate academic training programme. Ros has been an Examiner in paediatrics for the University of London Gold Medal, for the University of Hong Kong and the National University of Ireland. Ros is clearly a team player, and she sees all her achievements as team efforts. Cell and gene therapies offer the possibility of cures for childhood diseases where lifetime prospects have been very bleak. Ros and her team at University College London are at the forefront of these developments, of which Ros is immensely proud. She is a Fellow and former Council Member of the Academy of Medical Sciences (UK). Ros was a clinical medicine sub-panel Member of the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise and the 2014 Research

Evaluation Framework and has been a Member of numerous scientific assessment panels for research funding bodies, including the Wellcome Trust. She was a Member of the Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency’s Commission on Human Medicines from 2009-2013 and Chaired its Paediatric Medicines Expert Advisory Group from 2002-2013. She was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine in 2010. She has a strong commitment to Open Access publishing and was a Director of the Public Library of Science for ten years. Ros is a Governor and Trustee of the Health Foundation and will Chair the Medical Research Council’s Clinical Careers and Training Committee from April 2017. Ros is constantly inspired by the resilience and triumph of the human spirit when she encounters stories of children who have survived abduction, war, siege, orphanage, migration and are still able to rebuild their lives. Similarly, one of her favourite films is Lives of Others about a Stasi agent who is in charge of surveillance and becomes moved by his intimate acquaintance with his protagonists’ lives. In contrast to the shallowness of his own life, he ends up subverting his surveillance, which saves their lives and represents to Ros, a triumph of truth over adversity. In 2015, Ros was awarded a CBE for services to the regulation of drugs for children. Ros is married to a paediatric anaesthetist, and they have two grown-up children. * Favourite Music: Hallelujah, but anything by Leonard Cohen, whom I saw in Liverpool * Three objects Ros cannot live without: Macbook, Walking boots, Recipe book

Ros’ advice to junior doctors is “To encourage them to consider academic medicine. It is a stimulating and exciting career and offers huge opportunities to improve health and wellbeing.”


Medical Woman | Spring 2017

Medical Woman – Magazine Centenary Issue, April 2017  

The magazine for the Medical Women’s Federation (MWF), the largest and most influential body of women doctors in the UK which aims to promot...

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