Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance

Major Research Initiative

by Vicky Skingley


The Scleroderma Society establishes a professorial Chair of Rheumatology at the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Postgraduate Medical School

On Wednesday 16 November, Kim Fligelstone and Steve Holloway attended a graduation ceremony at The University of Bedfordshire where Professor Kuntal Chakravarty was conferred the Dame Carol Black Professor of Rheumatology. Dame Carol herself received the award of Honorary Doctor of Science.

Earlier in the year, The Scleroderma Society received a donation which, with Gift Aid, was £125,000, and a request that this be used to help establish a professorial Chair of Rheumatology at the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Postgraduate Medical School, which has close links with the University of Bedfordshire. The Medical School acts as an academic resource for medical and healthcare professionals in the region. This is accomplished through the provision of high quality professional development and postgraduate education and by fostering research.

During the year we have been involved in discussions with Professor Les Ebdon, Vice Chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire and Professor Alan Sinclair, Dean and Head of the Medical School. As a result, we are delighted that this has led to the establishment of The Dame Carol Black Chair of Rheumatology and to the appointment of Professor Chakravarty a life member of The Scleroderma Society, as the first incumbent.

The citations at the ceremony for Dame Carol and Kuntal outlined the significant contributions that each has made over many years to research, education and clinical practice in scleroderma. It is a wonderful tribute to Dame Carol that her work has been recognised in this way. Amongst her many achievements Dame Carol founded The Scleroderma Society and is today our Honorary President.

This is a big step for The Scleroderma Society and one which we are very excited about. It is most  fitting that Professor Chakravarty has received this important appointment, and we have been invited to participate in the steering committee which will guide the research programme in the coming years. Along with Kuntal, The Scleroderma Society will report on progress from time to time.

Kim and Steve were privileged to be invited to the ceremony and to join the Vice Chancellor and his other guests for lunch at the university.

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