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Elizabeth Blackwell Annual Public Lecture by Dame Professor Parveen Kumar

Parveen Kumar closeup

Dame Parveen Kumar DBE Jonty Bewley

Parveen Kumar in Great Hall

The Great Hall, Wills Memorial Building Jonty Bewley

Parveen & guest

Dame Parveen Kumar and Mr Yorokee Kapimbua Jonty Bewley

30 October 2018

We were delighted to welcome Dame Professor Parveen Kumar in Bristol as our fifth Elizabeth Blackwell Annual Public Lecture speaker. Her talk was titled 'Health in a global world: my personal journey', a fascinating story from the foothills of Lahore through China and India, sharing her solitary (as one of very few women) educational experience to the top of the medical profession.

Listen to an audio recording of Dame Parveen giving the Elizabeth Blackwell Annual Public Lecture 2018.

To view the powerpoint presentation follow this link: Parveen Kumar slides (PDF, 4,337kB)

A gastroenterologist, Professor at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Chair of the British Medical Association's Board of Science, President of the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund and immediate past President of Medical Women's Federation, Parveen Kumar worked in the NHS for over 40 years and continues to lecture; do clinics; teach and mentor medical students. She is a member of many health committees and charities, and previously was the President of the BMA, the Royal Society of Medicine, and Vice-President of the Royal College of Physicians. She chaired the Medicines Commission UK and was a founding non-executive for NICE.

Dame Parveen talked to a packed audience in the Wills Memorial Building, reflecting on how her personal experiences and turbulent events of the 20th century informed her choices and how the challenges of healthcare around the world changed in that time. With a keen interest in education and global health Dame Parveen discussed the main global health problems facing the world today and what are likely to be the biggest threats in the future. Despite all the challenges, she encouraged medical students and researchers to be courageous and never loose enthusiasm.

Dame Parveen is known to generations of medical students for her iconic medical textbook Kumar and Clark’s 'Clinical Medicine'. Her continued support for the new generation of medical practitioners resulted in a recent publication of the 'Essentials of Global Health', a unique introduction to global health written by medical students from all over the world through the help of Medsin (now Students for Global Health), the International Federation of Medical Students’ Association (IFMSA), the Royal Society of Medicine and edited by Dame Parveen together with Mr B Sethia.

This Public Lecture is named after Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive a medical degree in the USA and to be placed on the UK's medical register. Elizabeth was born in Bristol in 1821 and returned to the UK in 1859 to lecture at a social sciences congress held on the site now occupied by the Great Hall, Wills Memorial Building. Elizabeth Blackwell worked tirelessly throughout her life to improve public health, exemplifying what the Institute is today striving to achieve.

Members of the public were especially welcome at the lecture, which aimed to revive the spirit of the Penny Lectures which were designed to educate, and to encourage new thinking, ideas and debate. They were an initiative of the National Health Society, which was founded by Elizabeth Blackwell in 1871, soon after she returned from the US to settle in England.

Following the lecture the audience had a chance to network and talk with Dame Parveen and ask questions at a drinks reception.

Further information

Watch 100 Years of Medical Women: Past, Present and Future film shown at the beginning of the talk. 

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