Victor Horsley Scientific Sessions

Join us at a series of virtual scientific lectures, taking place from Wednesday 15 – Friday 17 September 2021. 

Updated: Wednesday 15 September 2021
public health covid

The Victor Horsley Scientific Sessions traditionally take place during the BMA's Annual Representative Meeting.

The 2021 lectures have been scheduled to be held soon after this year's virtual ARM. 

The BMA board of science chooses topics that are designed to provide an insight into key health issues of concern to the medical profession, enabling attendees to hear from leading experts in their respective field. 

Please note that the lectures will be recorded and made available on the BMA website post-event if you are unable to attend them on the day.


Victor Horsley Scientific Sessions

Wednesday 15 September 2021, 12.30 – 2pm

Topic: Obesity: causes and consequences

Speaker: Professor Sadaf Farooqi, Professor of Metabolism, Cambridge Cardiovascular, University of Cambridge

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Thursday 16 September 2021, 12.30 – 2pm

Topic: The alcohol pandemic: before and after Covid-19

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, Director, Liverpool Centre for Alcohol Research and Chairman, Alcohol Health Alliance UK

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Friday 17 September 2021, 12 – 1pm

(Please note the change to time).

Topic: Why the Paris treaty can be a public health treaty

Dr Maria Neira, Director, Environment, Climate Change and Health, WHO

What it will cover:
In 2008, the World Health Organization (WHO) for the first time described climate change as the biggest global health threat of the 21st century. Since then, the science has become unequivocally clear: climate change impacts our health in many ways, including by intensifying extreme events such as wildfires and floods, enhancing the spread of vector-borne and water-borne diseases, decreasing air quality, reducing nutrition levels in crops, displacing populations, and disrupting health systems.

As the foremost global agreement to protect the global community from runaway climate change, the Paris Agreement is fundamentally a public health agreement, says Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director for the Department of Environment, Climate change and Health. In this BMA Victor Horsley Scientific Lecture, Dr Neira explains why decision-makers need to act “in the name of health” in this decisive decade for action on climate change, and shares some of the tools and solutions at their disposal to do so.

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How to register

These sessions for BMA members, are free to attend but you must register to secure your place.

It is possible to book for one or more of these events on the registration form.

Register now

Attendees will have the opportunity to submit questions to ask the speakers both before and during the event.

BMA will be applying for CPD accreditation for these online events.

If you have any questions about the event, or any problems registering for the event, please contact BMA conferences on [email protected] or by calling 0207 383 6137.


Chair of lectures

The lectures will be chaired by Professor Dame Parveen Kumar, chair of the BMA board of science.

Professor Dame Parveen Kumar

Professor Dame Parveen Kumar is Emerita Professor of Medicine and Education at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London. She chairs the BMA Board of Science, is a past-President of the BMA, and is on the BMA Foundation for Medical Research.

Dame Parveen is a past - President of the Royal Society of Medicine, the Medical Women’s Federation, the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund, and Vice President of the Royal College of Physicians. She chaired the Medicines Commission UK, was a founding non-executive Director of the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE). She also chaired the Governors of the BUPA Foundation for Research. She co-founded and co-edits Kumar and Clark's Clinical Medicine, a medical textbook used all over the world.

Her main interests are in medical education and Global health, and she co-edited a book on the Essentials of Global Health written by 127 medical students from around the world. She is the ambassador for the UK Health Alliance for Climate Change. She has championed the role of women in medicine and has also tried to help ethnic minorities and refugees in this country to achieve their goals. She has received many awards including the BMJ award for the Outstanding contribution to healthcare. She was awarded CBE in 2000, and DBE in 2017.

Speaker biographies

Professor Sadaf Farooqi

Sadaf Farooqi is a Wellcome Principal Research Fellow and Professor of Metabolism and Medicine at the University of Cambridge, UK.

She is an internationally leading Clinician Scientist who has made seminal contributions to understanding the genetic and physiological mechanisms that underlie obesity and its complications.

The work of Sadaf Farooqi and her colleagues has fundamentally altered the understanding of how body weight is regulated. With colleagues, she discovered and characterised the first genetic disorders that cause severe childhood obesity and established that the principal driver of obesity in these conditions was a failure of the control of appetite.

Her work is often cited as an exemplar of how the translation of research into the mechanisms of disease can lead to patient benefit. She has received a number of awards including the ADA Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award 2019 and the Dale Medal 2021 (the highest honour awarded by the UK Society of Endocrinology).

In 2021, she was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in recognition of her exceptional contribution to science.


Professor Sir Ian Gilmore

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore is an Honorary Consultant Physician at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital and holds an Honorary Chair at the University of Liverpool. After training in Cambridge, London and the USA, he moved to Liverpool as a Consultant in 1980. 

He is Past-President of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and the British Society of Gastroenterology, and chaired Liverpool Health Partners, created to promote an Academic Health Science System in Liverpool, for six years. He is Director of the Liverpool Centre for Alcohol Research.

He chairs the UK Alcohol Health Alliance and the Department of Health Prescribed Specialised Services Advisory Group. He has been a member of the Climate and Health Council.


Dr Maria Neira

Dr Maria Neira has been directing the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health at the World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland since September 2005. Throughout her tenure and up until now she has led and advised on policy and management in key areas of environmental health. Prior to that she served as Under-Secretary of Health and President of the Spanish Food Safety Agency.

From 1993-1998 she was Coordinator of the Global Task Force on Cholera Control. Dr Neira began her career as a medical coordinator working with refugees in El Salvador and Honduras for Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders). She then spent several years working in different African countries during armed conflicts.

Born in the city of Oviedo, Asturias, Dr Neira is a Spanish national, a medical doctor by training and specialized in Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases; and Public Health.

Among many distinctions, she has been awarded the Médaille de l'Ordre national du Mérite by the Government of France and received an "Extraordinary Woman" award by HM Queen Letizia of Spain. In early 2019, she was nominated among the top 100 policy influencers in health and climate change.