University of Dundee University of Dundee
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31 May 2006

Laureation Address for Professor Anna Glasier

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Chancellor, I have the honour to present for the degree of Doctor of laws, honoris causa, Professor Anna Glasier.

Professor Glasier's contribution to family planning and well women services is unique. She has brought intellectual rigour to family planning research and she has developed first class clinical services. Her goal is to promote a broad understanding of sexual relationships that encourages people to respect themselves and to respect others.

A medical graduate of Bristol University, Professor Glasier began her career in obstetrics and gynaecology in Edinburgh first as a Clinical Research Fellow and then as a Clinical Lecturer.

Today she is Director of Sexual and Reproductive health at the University of Edinburgh and Clinical Director of Family Planning and Well Women services for NHS Lothian.

Over the last decade her drive and steely determination have transformed the Lothian service into a high quality reproductive health service renowned for its clinical work, and with an enviable reputation for the rigour of its practical, grounded clinical research.

She has been a key advocate and supporter of Sexpression - a national network of sex education initiatives started in 1998 and delivered by medical students. Groups of medical students in universities across the country work on the basis that they can relate effectively to young people in schools and youth groups: the students create an open environment for discussing the emotional aspects of relationships including negotiating contraceptive use, accessing sexual health services and informed decision making regarding sexual matters.

Unintended pregnancy is a pressing public health problem. Some of Professor Glasier's research has focussed on the potential for emergency contraception to be part of the solution to this problem. Her work typically evaluates not simply the effectiveness of providing emergency contraception, but crucially also the effectiveness of its implementation. She has been fearless in challenging the ambivalence of healthcare professionals that relaxing restrictions on the provision of Emergency Contraception would lead to its misuse. She has highlighted the difficulties of implementing interventions at general practice level where values, attitudes and competencies may prevent doctors from feeling comfortable about broaching sexual health issues during routine consultations.

The status and influence of her research is evident from the award of 2 honorary Chairs in University of Edinburgh and in the London University School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Her London Chair in the department of Public Health and Policy recognised her distinguished contributions to these areas. Professor Glasier was awarded the OBE last year for services to family planning.

She is a leading figure with the World Health Organisation where she uses her powers of persuasion and eye for detail to great effect to develop initiatives on contraception and reproductive health to reduce the burden of excessive childbearing in developing countries.

Still further challenges beckon. Last autumn she was appointed to spearhead NHS Lothian's sexual health strategy. Her philosophy is that sexual health is about much more than simply the absence of illness. Her goal is to ensure that sexual health and wellbeing receive the importance they deserve.

At a more personal level, I can reveal that Professor Glasier is a woman who abhors fuss and inefficiency in equal measure. I am hopeful therefore that she sees today's ceremony as fuss of the most acceptable variety and its execution as a model of efficiency. Away from work, Professor Glasier is at her happiest with husband David in a remote corner of the Scottish highlands pursuing their passion for outdoor life.

Professor Glasier's achievements in tackling teenage pregnancies and bringing intellectual rigour to family planning research have been recognised by her peers around the world. Today as a University we honour a leader in family planning and well women services.

Chancellor, I have the honour to invite you to confer upon Professor Anna Glasier the degree of Doctor of Laws.

Professor Marion McMurdo
31 May 2006