About this event

  • Date and time Thu 14 Sep 2023 from 6:00pm to 10:00pm
  • Location Royal Society of Medicine
  • Organised by Medicine and Society

This meeting will allow Medicine and Society members to hear reports from the Committee on the achievements and work of the Section over the year 2022/23.

Join Dr Justin Varney to discuss key issues that aim to bridge the gap between medicine and other professions with insight from the director of public health in Birmingham. Participants will gain practical insights and knowledge on reflections on work and learning from the pandemic.

This event aims to bring together the practical insights and knowledge on reflections on work and learning from the pandemic aligned to the RSM section council’s interest in the use of data for public benefit and how systems work together. 

Benefits of attending

  • Gain insights and knowledge from England’s largest Public Health area.
  • Learn about the importance of patient and public involvement; putting data that exists at the system level to best use in the interest of outcomes; and inequality as a determinant of health. 
  • Find out how lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic can inform ‘post-pandemic’ best practice.   


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Key speakers

Dr Justin Varney

Director, Public Health, Birmingham City Council

Speaker's biography

Dr Justin Varney leads the public health function in Birmingham, England’s 2nd city.  He joined the city in 2019 following six years leading adult and older adults health and wellbeing programme at Public Health England. Originally training in general practice he moved early across to public health medicine and started his career in Barking and Dagenham in East London. His career has spanned local, regional, national and international levels of the public health system and included roles such as Thinker in Residence at the University of Sydney, independent advisor to the national Council for Health and Work and Policy lead at the Prince of Wales’s business charity Business in the Community. Justin has a special interest in lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans health inequalities, physical activity policy, homelessness and domestic violence prevention and diversity and inclusion. He holds an honorary chair at University of Birmingham and honorary doctorates and fellowships from three of the city’s universities, and is an honorary fellow of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine.

Responsible for protecting and improving the health and wellbeing of over one million citizens, he had been in post for just 12 months when the covid pandemic hit one of the youngest, most deprived and most diverse cities in Europe. Navigating the city through the rapidly changing landscape of evidence, guidelines and politics drew on all of his 20 years of experience in health and public service. In his reflections he will share the reality of leadership in the uncertain times and against overwhelming odds and ever changing science and data, the importance of compassion and collaboration with communities and share some of the moments of insight that have shaped his post-pandemic leadership.


View the programme

Annual General Meeting
Reflections on navigating a pandemic with compassion and collaboration in uncertain times

Dr Justin Varney, Director, Public Health, Birmingham City Council

Close of event


Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole St, Marylebone, London, W1G 0AE, United Kingdom


Registration for this event will close at 1:00am on Wednesday 13 September 2023. Late registrations will not be accepted.

The agenda is subject to change at any time

If the event is recorded, we are only able to share presentations that we have received permission to share. There is no guarantee that all sessions will be available after the event, this is at the presenter’s and RSM’s discretion.

All views expressed at this event are of the speakers themselves and not of the Royal Society of Medicine, nor the speaker's organisations.

This event will be recorded and stored by the Royal Society of Medicine and may be distributed in future on various internet channels.


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