Presentation address by Professor Laura Stroud:
Professor Gillian Leng is one of our own – a Leeds Medical graduate, who, from being a junior doctor has been passionate about using evidence to improve care. From her early involvement with the Cochrane Collaboration she has demonstrated that she has vision and qualities of leadership. She was instrumental in the establishment of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Joining in 2001, she was appointed Deputy CEO in 2007 and CEO in April 2020.
The latter date will not escape us – at a time when cool heads and experienced hands were never more needed, Gillian oversaw the development of COVID-19 guidelines, which have undoubtedly saved countless lives during the biggest health crisis the world has seen in recent times.
Many of us – patients, the public, carers, relatives, our friends and families – have cause to be grateful for the work of NICE. Gillian led the establishment of the clinical guideline programme; she set up NHS evidence, was responsible for guideline development in social care, and developed the NICE programmes of indicators and quality standards.
Gillian’s achievements include the award of CBE in the 2011 Birthday Honours List and her appointment as Honorary Librarian at the Royal Society of Medicine in 2017.
This is a remarkable career, in the vanguard of establishing evidence in service of patients, by drawing on her clinical expertise in trials, epidemiology and public health.
But she has never forgotten Leeds – I am delighted to say that she has been extraordinarily willing to come back and teach our second-year Medical undergraduates about evidence and the role of NICE. She has established a programme of junior “NICE champions”, maintained a keen interest in our students and supported clinical academic trainees.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor, for her clinical expertise and leadership in improving healthcare for all, I am privileged to present to you for the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa, Gillian Catherine Leng.”