Royal College honours leading dentist for work in Malawi

24 May, 2024 / infocus
 Will Peakin  

A Glasgow academic who helped to establish Malawi’s first dental school has been made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.

Jeremy Bagg OBE, Emeritus Professor at the University of Glasgow and the Royal College’s former Director of Global Health, was recognised for his work with the University of Malawi College of Medicine (now Kamuzu University of Health Sciences) on the MalDent project, which set up the country’s first dental surgery degree in 2019.

Malawi’s population of around 20 million people was previously served by only 43 dentists, leaving many people in pain and without access to dental care. The first home-trained dentists from the programme are set to graduate early next year and will provide support for the delivery of a national oral health programme.

He has drawn on his experience in public health and background in education to achieve something truly incredible, and his work will undoubtedly improve the oral health of the people of Malawi

Professor Christine Goodall

Professor Bagg received his award at the Royal College during a diploma ceremony on Tuesday (21 May). He said: “I’m completely gobsmacked. I have thoroughly enjoyed my career, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my experience with the College here as well as the University. I feel all I’ve done is do my job, which is what is expected of people in the roles I’ve had, so I’m highly honoured and very humbled by this award.”

Under Professor Bagg’s leadership, the Scottish Government-funded MalDent project also worked with the Malawi Government’s Ministry of Health to establish a national oral health policy, based on the principles of prevention.

Professor Christine Goodall, Dean of the Royal College’s Faculty of Dental Surgery, said: “Jeremy has been my colleague for many years at the University of Glasgow, as well as at the College, and I think we would all agree that he is a very deserving recipient of this honour.

“He has been instrumental in seeing an issue for a whole country and finding ways to change it. He has drawn on his experience in public health and background in education to achieve something truly incredible, and his work will undoubtedly improve the oral health of the people of Malawi.

“As a dental faculty, and as a College, we are all immensely proud of what Jeremy has achieved.”

Professor Bagg is the former Head of the University of Glasgow’s Dental School and was the Royal College’s Vice-Dean of Dental Surgery from 2016-2019. He served as the College’s Director of Global Health until 2023.

Originally from Kent, he gained his degree in dentistry from the University of Edinburgh in 1979, followed by his PhD in 1982, following a three-year Leckie-Mactier Research Fellowship in the Department of Bacteriology at Edinburgh Medical School.

A celebrated educator, he served as a lecturer in Oral Medicine & Oral Pathology at Cardiff Dental School from 1983 – 1991, during which time he practised clinical Oral Medicine and completed specialist training in medical microbiology.

He later moved on to the University of Glasgow and was appointed Professor of Clinical Microbiology in 1999. In 2005, he was appointed Head of the Dental School and in 2011 was also appointed Deputy Head of the School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing, posts he held until 2021. In 2018, he received an OBE for his services to dental education.

His extensive expertise led him to work as a key advisor to the Scottish Government, including his positions as Chair of the Scottish Government National Dental Advisory Committee until 2015 and Chair of the Steering Group of the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme until 2022.

His research into the role of oral micro-organisms in systemic disease, infection control in dental surgery, public health microbiology and global oral health have positioned him as a leading voice in the field.

Alongside his achievements in medicine, Professor Bagg is an internationally renowned author, publishing over 150 scientific papers and co-authoring two textbooks: Essentials of Microbiology for Dental Students and Pocket Reference to Oral Candidosis

He received his Honorary Fellowship at a diploma ceremony alongside the College’s newest Fellows and Members, celebrating the hard work and achievements of physicians, surgeons, dentists, podiatrists and travel medicine professionals.

Tags: Jeremy Bagg / Royal Collage of Physicians of Surgeons of Glasgow

Categories: News

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