Manson and Chalmers Medals awarded; new President announced

10 Oct 2019
Professor Janet Hemingway is the first woman recipient of the Sir Patrick Manson Medal

Every year we award a number of medals in recognition of excellence. This year, the awards took place at our Annual Meeting, which ran concurrently to the European Congress on Tropical Medicine and International Health, in Liverpool this September.

This year, we welcomed a new President and Trustees to the RSTMH Board, meaning we also had to sadly bid farewell to our President over the last year, as well as other long-standing members of the Board.

Manson Medal: RSTMH’s highest honour

Awarding our medals is a great opportunity to reward pioneers in the field of tropical medicine and global health for their dedication and achievements and this year was no different.

The Sir Patrick Manson Medal is awarded triennially. It is the Society's highest mark of distinction and is awarded to the living person or people whose contribution to any branch of tropical medicine or hygiene is considered by the Board of Trustees to merit the honour most.

Professor David Warrell receiving the Sir Patrick Manson Medal

We’re pleased to announce that 2019’s Manson Medal was jointly awarded to Professors Janet Hemingway and David Warrell. Professor Janet Hemingway is the first women to be awarded the Manson Medal. Previous recipients include Professor Baron Peter Piot and Professor David Molyneux.

Professor Hemingway is Professor of Vector Biology at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, having been Director between 2001 and 2018. Whilst serving as LSTM’s Director Professor Hemingway was the first CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates funded Innovative Vector Control Consortium (IVCC), which she initiated.

She has dedicated her professional life to alleviating human suffering through the study of insect-transmitted diseases, most notably malaria and said on receiving the medal:

“I am extremely pleased to have become the first woman to receive this prestigious award - it really is like standing on the shoulder of giants. I learned a long time ago not to be afraid of taking on those large challenges, I think if you make a decision about where you want to go, you will be amazed at how far you can get."

Professor David Warrell jointly received the Manson Medal in recognition to his lifelong work in tropical medicine, notably on malaria, snakebites and rabies.

Professor Warrell was RSTMH President between 1997 and 1999 and founded the Centre for Tropical Medicine in Oxford, he started the research at the Mahidol Oxford Research Unit in Bangkok, Thailand, in 1979. His research at MORU revolutionised the treatment of severe malaria.

Professor Warrell said: “I have been enormously fortunate to have had the opportunity to carry out clinical research on tropical infectious diseases, envenoming and poisoning in many countries over the past 50 years, first in Ethiopia in 1968 and most recently in Myanmar. The very welcome award of the prestigious Sir Patrick Manson Medal by RSTMH recognises these efforts, but most credit is due to my wonderful local collaborators and to support by my academic bases at RPMS Hammersmith Hospital and then the Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Oxford. I am honoured and humbled by this award which prompts me to continue fighting for neglected tropical diseases such as rabies and snakebite.”

Dr Kinyanjui receives the Chalmers Medal from now Past President, Professor Sarah Rowland-Jones

Chalmers Medal: Supporting mid-career researchers

Dr Samson Kinyanjui received the Chalmers Medal, awarded to researchers who obtained their last relevant qualification 15 to 20 years ago. Dr Kinyanjui received this award in recognition to his work in capacity building and training of scientists in Kenya.

His key achievement has been the development of a research framework for attracting, training and retaining African research leaders. Through the programme, Dr Kinyanjui has overseen the training of over 200 graduate interns, the majority of whom have taken up a research career. He has overseen over 100 Masters and 70 PhD training since 2008.

The scheme has been developed into an Education ministry accredited Postgraduate Diploma in Health Research Methods study.

Dr Kinyanjui said: “I feel honoured to have been selected for the Chalmers Medal, and I am happy for the recognition. However I must reflect on the fact that in all the capacity building work I have been involved in, I have had tremendous support from my collegues at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust where am based and Oxford University, where am employed, as well as from hundreds of collaborators across the world. My biggest pride is seeing people who joined our training programme as graduate interns now leading their own research groups and training other interns, Masters and PhD students!”

Professor David Mabey has recently taken over the RSTMH Presidency

A new RSTMH President

As well as awarding medals, we welcomed a new RSTMH President at ECTMIH 2019. Professor David Mabey is a Professor of Communicable Diseases at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and a physician specialising in infectious and tropical diseases.

Of his new role, Professor Mabey said:

“I am thrilled to take up the role of RSTMH President and would like to congratulate Professor Sarah Rowland-Jones on her time in post. I’m looking forward to working with everyone in the RSTMH team, including members and Fellows, Trustees, staff and everyone else in our network and to making the next year a huge success. Joining the Society as President during ECTMIH was a great chance to see the hard work and commitment of the team.

“We are now halfway through our five-year strategy and we hope that, in the next 12 months or so, we will see a lot of planning and work come to fruition with a new database and website being launched. We will also be focusing on maximising our impact in the sector, as well as securing our income for the future. And we will continue to focus on supporting those who are starting or early in their careers, through events, opportunities, grants and more.

“Having run the DTM&H course at the London School for eight years , been responsible for two Wellcome Trust clinical PhD programmes in Global health Research and represented the London School on two DELTAs African capacity building consortia, I am very much committed supporting early career researchers and will be doing everything I can to help.”

As we welcome a new President, we sadly have to say goodbye to our President over the last year, Professor Sarah Rowland-Jones. She is a Professor of Immunology at Oxford and her research group focuses on immune responses to HIV infection in African cohorts, trying to identify what would be needed to create a successful vaccine.

Professor Rowland-Jones: "The year has gone by so fast but has also been immensely interesting and challenging. From joining meetings of sister societies in New Orleans and Nagasaki, to outlining the work of RSTMH in Oxford, Melbourne and Yaounde, it has been a busy year – culminating in our hosting of ECTMIH in Liverpool in September, which was a fantastic and inspiring event.

"I am particularly excited about the work the Society has done over the past year to engage better with our members, current and future, through initiatives such as the International Members Committee, Country Ambassadors and through the Education and Training Committee. All our events and activities depend on the Society’s amazing staff team under the leadership of Tamar Ghosh. I know that David Mabey can be assured of their constant support as he starts his Presidency."

We also welcome new Trustees Professor Diana Lockwood and Karen Brady to the Board and thank Dr Judy MacArthur Clark for all her support as a Trustee over the last four years. We’re also very happy that Professor Rowland-Jones and Dr MacArthur Clark have agreed to stay on as members of our Committees.

“We’re delighted to have awarded the Sir Patrick Manson Medal to two such deserving leaders in their fields and we’re particularly pleased to have awarded the medal to the first woman. 

“As a Society, we are focusing on supporting professional at all stages in their careers, so it’s a great honour to award the Chalmers Medal to Dr Kinyanjui for all his achievements so far.

“Finally, as well as welcoming Professor Mabey as our new President, we thank Professor Rowland-Jones our outgoing President, for her help and advice over the last year, which has been invaluable, particularly in the run up to ECTMIH 2019.

“We thank her for all her guidance and look forward to having her continued support as Past President for another year.”

Tamar Ghosh, RSTMH CEO