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Learn from Professor Dame Carol Black about how to boost your impact on society

Venue: Online

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We are delighted to welcome Professor Dame Carol Black FRCP FMedSci DBE, former Principal of Newnham College at the University of Cambridge, who will give an inspiring talk about how to boost your impact on society. Whether you are a Birkbeck academic aiming to boost the impact of your research on society, a Birkbeck student aspiring towards a career with major contributions to society, or Birkbeck alumni interested in learning about how to collaborate with the government in formulating public policies and laws, this talk will be inspirational.

The talk will be chaired by Dr. Caroline Kamau-Mitchell, Reader in Occupational Health and Leader of Birkbeck's Brainstorming Grants Group, with a welcome message from Professor Julian Swann, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research. The Brainstorming Grants Group is an exclusive learning programme for specially selected Birkbeck academics. Our summer session will be opened to a wider audience with priority for questions given to fellows of the Brainstorming Grants Group. The talk will take place online on Microsoft Teams on Thursday 13th June 2024 from 1pm to 2pm, and early booking is required.


Professor Dame Carol Black was born in 1939 and studied medicine as a mature student after working as a teacher. After qualifying in 1971, she worked as a doctor and later became a consultant medical doctor who set up a world-renowned research centre on scleroderma before becoming a professor at Royal Free Hospital in 1993. She was awarded a CBE in 2002 in honour of her contributions to helping patients with scleroderma. She became a medical director and the second woman to ever serve as President of the Royal College of Physicians in its 500-year history, and a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 2005.

The UK government asked Professor Dame Black to conduct many major reviews which later shaped public policy and national strategies implemented by the Home Office, and the Department of Health and Social Care. For example, she inspired government strategies towards helping people with drug abuse prevention, addiction recovery and support with entering employment. She has also advised the Department for Work and Pensions as National Director for Health and Work. She was awarded Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) in 2024 in honour of her contributions to shaping government services for people with drug addiction.

Professor Dame Black made major contributions to the UK government’s prioritisation of occupational health by helping it recognise the link between work and health in her role as national director for health and work. She contributed to a major review about workplace sickness-absence which analysed economic, social and health factors, shaping the government to implement systemic approaches that involve GPs, improved occupational health services, and flexibility among employers in supporting return-to-work to prevent long-term sickness-absence. She has been co-chair of NHS England/Improvement’s Expert Advisory Group on Employee Health and Wellbeing.

Professor Dame Black has worked at board level for the Royal Free Hospital Hampstead NHS Trust, the Health Foundation, and the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement. She has also been the Chair of Governance Board of Centre for Workforce Intelligence, the Chair of the British Library, the Chair of Think Ahead (a government fast-stream training programme), the Chair of the Centre for Ageing Better, Chair of the Nuffield Trust, an expert adviser on health to the government's Department for Health and she was president of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. She is a phenomenal individual who has had a tremendous impact on the government and society, and we very much look forward to it.


· Introduction from Dr. Caroline Kamau-Mitchell, Leader of Birkbeck's Brainstorming Grants Group -

· Welcome Message from Professor Julian Swann, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, Birkbeck, University of London.

· Talk by Professor Dame Carol Black

· Questions from fellows of the Brainstorming Grants Group

· Questions from the audience

· Thank you messages from Dr. Kamau-Mitchell and Professor Swann.


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