Anne Chamberlain

Presentation address by Professor Rory O’Connor


Our University’s values – community, integrity, inclusiveness and professionalism – underpin our focus on academic excellence and guide our staff, students and alumni to make a difference in the world.

Today we honour a colleague and pioneer of rehabilitation medicine who has exemplified these values for more than fifty years and set the global standard for helping those disabled by illness or injury to participate more fully in society.

Anne Chamberlain is Emeritus Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at Leeds and has served as adviser to the Chief Medical Officer; and President of the British Society of Rehabilitation Medicine; the Society of Rehabilitation Research; and the European Academy of Rehabilitation Medicine.

Anne was appointed the first Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at Leeds in 1988. The Charterhouse Trust funded the post in recognition of Anne’s achievements and her vision to develop Leeds into the powerhouse of rehabilitation research in the UK.

Successful in achieving this ambition, Anne’s research has broken boundaries in numerous fields – performing randomised controlled trials in young adults in transition; developing and testing the next generation of drugs for rheumatic conditions; and in pioneering rehabilitation for people with conditions formerly thought to be untreatable.

In many ways Anne broke the mould. She was the first to publish rehabilitation research in the leading international medical journals, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) and the Lancet. Much of her work remains current, continuing to provide a basis for research around the world. This work cuts across borders: Anne was named Vice-President of the Association of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine of Madagascar in recognition of her work in that country.

Anne retired from Leeds in 2007 but continues to teach, research and publish and to advocate the needs of disabled people. She has inspired many junior academics and has had an influential and long-lasting role in helping many colleagues to senior roles in the UK and abroad.

We are not the first to honour Anne’s achievements; in 1998, she was awarded an OBE for outstanding services to rehabilitation. She is also an honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists, an award bestowed on very few.

Passionate, thoughtful and determined – Anne possesses the qualities which are essential in clinical research in general, but especially in rehabilitation medicine. And a finer exemplar of our values of community, integrity, inclusiveness and professionalism would be hard to find.

Vice-Chancellor, I am delighted to present to you for the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa, Anne Chamberlain.