Professor Sir Stephen Holgate, UKRI clean air champion and special advisor to the RCP on air quality will be delivering the 2022 Samuel Gee lecture as part of College Day. His lecture is titled Air pollution: the greatest environmental health challenge of our time.
Some of us will remember the great London smog in December 1952 with its attendant mortality. The Clean Air Act of 1956 was designed to put an end to the problem. Unfortunately, we now have air pollution from the internal combustion engine, farming and wood burning. Particulate matter (PM) passes through the lung into the circulation and, along with toxic gases such as NO2, they accelerate and exacerbate NCDs and are carcinogenic. In 2021, the overwhelming evidence causally linking pollution to health effects led to downward revision of the WHO health-linked air quality limit values for both PM and NO2. Put simply, over 95% of the UK population are now breathing toxic air. As a public health emergency, the health professions, need to take greater ownership of this problem and add their voice as we did so effectively in the campaign that led to the banning of smoking in public places.
The lecture was established by a bequest from Miss Edith Thyra Gee in 1964 in memory of her father, Dr Samuel Jones Gee who died in 1911.
Samuel Gee, a Fellow, had a longstanding relationship with the College. He was the Goulstonian lecturer in 1871, Bradshaw lecturer in 1892 and Lemleian lecturer in 1899 as well as senior censor. He was appointed physician to the Prince of Wales (later King George V) in 1901. His book Medical Lectures and Aphorism contains all of his lectures given at the College.
Gee is recognised as one of the greatest medical experts of his day and one of the greatest clinical teachers of the Victorian era. He was the first to identify coeliac disease and wrote extensively on medicinal topics such as chicken pox, scarlet fever and tubercular meningitis.
5.30pm Welcome and introduction
Dr Andrew Goddard, president, Royal College of Physicians
5.35pm Samuel Gee lecture: air pollution: the greatest environmental health challenge of our time
Professor Sir Stephen Holgate, UKRI clean air champion and special advisor to the RCP on air quality
6.15pm Question and answer session
6.30pm Close of lecture
Please note that any presentations shown at this event have been produced by the individual speakers. As such they are not owned by, and do not necessarily represent the views of, the RCP.
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