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An update from the President – Professor Roger Kirby

There is a positive energy around the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) now as new projects start to pick up steam. 

While it always feels premature to refer to the pandemic in the past tense, most organisations, including the RSM, are focused on post-pandemic operations and planning. In fact, we have been for some time.  

The RSM has embarked on an exciting transformation programme and while I believe that smart organisations should always be continually evolving, trustees and our senior management team have been focused on developing initiatives that will help us flourish in what has become a new healthcare landscape. These promise to deliver for all our members an organisation that can thrive well into the future. The changes will be big and small. In some cases, the pandemic has been a catalyst - it accelerated bold, future-thinking advances that have been developing for some time. We will be sharing more about these projects as they develop. 

At this halfway point in the academic year, I’m pleased to say that the quality of education from our sections has remained very high and, in fact, improved. In post-event surveys, a greater proportion of participants this year said they would recommend our events to a friend or colleague.  Our more general events, including our new Spotlight series and In Conversation Live interviews, have also been very popular, both in person and online.  

The first In Conversation Live event took place on 8 April 2020, as part of the RSM’s remarkable and rapid shift to digital education as the pandemic took hold. After more than 100 events and a cumulative audience reaching hundreds of thousands, the series will receive a fitting finale next month. On 24 April, Dr Rachel Clarke, author of the book behind the ITV series ‘Breathtaking’, will be interviewing Professor Michael Rosen, the writer who himself very nearly died of Covid-19. 

I’m proud to have played a part in this series, which has bookended both my Presidency and this momentous period in healthcare. 

We will soon be announcing an exciting new event format which will continue this proud tradition of bringing together great minds to discuss important topics in medicine and healthcare. Watch this space and, when we announce more, please do be sure to book on. 

We have been privileged to receive some substantial philanthropic gifts this academic year, which are enabling us to deliver our vision of better healthcare for better lives. This includes some touching legacy gifts, including one from Dr Thelma Bates, a longstanding RSM member who died last year. Our website has some guidance if you’d like to learn more about leaving a gift in your will.

After four rewarding and engaging years, I am due to hand over the Presidency of the RSM to my successor Professor Gillian Leng CBE on 23 July 2024. You are all invited to join us for that ceremony at which our RSM Honorary Fellowships will be awarded to: Baron Adebowale CBE, Professor Sir Simon Baron-Cohen, Major General Timothy Hodgetts CB, Professor Martin McKee CBE, Professor Dame Robina Shah and Professor Irene Tracey CBE. The RSM Gold Medal will be awarded to Dame Nancy Rothwell at a later date. 

Thank you for your continued support. The RSM community is only ever as strong as its members and we all get so much from each other when we come together. 

Professor Roger Kirby 

RSM President 

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