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Chief Medical Officer visits Bristol to meet health researchers and open a new research collaboration

Professor Dame Sally C Davies

Press release issued: 20 November 2014

The Chief Medical Officer for England will be visiting Bristol on Wednesday [26 November] to meet researchers who are helping to combat key public health issues.

Professor Dame Sally C Davies, whose role sees her act as the UK government’s principal medical adviser, will be officially launching a new partnership established to improve health and healthcare across the West.

During the day, leading researchers from the University of Bristol will present their pioneering work funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) – which was established by Dame Sally in 2006 to conduct and support health research in the NHS.

This covers a wide range of health issues, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. There will also be an insight into the SPHERE (Sensor Platform for HEalthcare in a Residential Environment) study, a project that will develop novel sensor systems to monitor people’s health in the home.

Dame Sally will attend the launch of the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care West (NIHR CLAHRC West), which won an award of £8.9 million over five years from January 2014. CLAHRC West brings together NHS organisations, local authorities, universities, people and patients from across the region, encouraging them to undertake research and translate evidence into the NHS. 

Professor Jenny Donovan, Director of the NIHR CLAHRC West, said: “I am delighted that Dame Sally is able to join us during our launch event and formally open the CLAHRC West.  The support of NIHR, developed and led by Dame Sally, provides us with tremendous opportunities to find out the best ways to improve the health and well-being of people in the West, and work collaboratively with our partners to deliver those improvements.”

To round off her visit, Dame Sally will give a stark warning about the growing problem of antibiotic resistance when she gives a sold-out public lecture at the University of Bristol.

Her visit has been organised by the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute, named after one of Bristol’s unsung pioneers in improving public health. It has recently announced a £3 million funding boost to continue its work to bring together leading researchers from a range of different fields to help solve the most pressing health problems of the 21st century.

Professor Jeremy Tavaré, Director of the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute, said: “It’s a huge honour to welcome Dame Sally to Bristol and to have this opportunity to show her the work going on, both at the University and in the wider city, to tackle various pressing health problems faced by the nation as a whole.

“Her lecture is a unique opportunity to hear from one of the UK’s foremost medical advisers about the growing problem of antibiotic resistance – arguably the most serious health threat facing the world today.”

The 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 Wills Memorial Building.

The Elizabeth Blackwell Public Lecture will be given annually, and always by a high profile woman in the field of public health or preventative medicine. Support for the lecture came from a generous donation from the descendants of Elizabeth Blackwell who visited Bristol in July 2013 for the launch of the EBI.

Further information

About the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute

The Elizabeth Blackwell Institute is building a dynamic community of researchers from health and non-health related disciplines at the University of Bristol to find innovative solutions for some of the most pressing health challenges of the 21st century.  The Institute will achieve this through encouraging new ways of working, and also through fostering collaborative approaches between scientists, industry, clinical practitioners and patients. The Institute operates across all faculties of the University of Bristol. 


The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) West works with its partner organisations to conduct applied health research and implement research evidence, to improve health and healthcare across the West of England.

CLAHRC West undertakes applied health research projects, in collaboration with its partners and others in the region and nationally. The research it does must have a real world application and fall into one of its broad thematic areas of ‘improving the management of chronic diseases’ and ‘public health interventions and population health’.

Further information is available at  

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