David Beard, Professor of Musculoskeletal Sciences and the Co-Director of the Surgical Intervention Trials Unit (SITU), at the University of Oxford has been awarded an Honorary Fellowship by The Royal College of Surgeons for outstanding services to surgery and surgical science.
This is one of the highest awards the College can bestow and is particularly rare for those without a surgical clinical background.
"It is a huge honour to be awarded this Fellowship, and after so many years rubbing shoulders (no pun intended) with surgeon colleagues, having this honorary status will help facilitate the continued research endeavours into the evaluation of surgical procedures and devices."
"It is hoped to derive powerful persuasive evidence, wherever it is needed (note, not necessarily for all procedures!), for the efficacy and safety of both new and pre-existing surgical interventions. The aim is that one day surgeons can point to, and contribute to the production of, a set of robust studies to support their own essential contribution to modern healthcare." says Professor Beard.
He adds: "As a very young researcher and having just presented a small, but well conducted clinical trial assessing a relatively benign and modestly effective therapeutic intervention, a gentleman surgeon, the late John Goodfellow (of Oxford Knee heritage) stood up and said in his most erudite tone; 'yes, a splendid study young man, but please do now move on and apply those skills to evaluate something rather more important'. Those words are never far from me."
Professor Beard has been involved in efficacy evaluation and outcome measurement of surgical interventions at NDORMS for nearly two decades. He is chief investigator of several large musculoskeletal trials, assessing fundamental aspects of orthopaedic surgery including TOPKAT, ACL SNNAP and CSAW (Can Shoulder Arthroscopy Work?). The latter is one of the few innovative design placebo surgery comparison studies, which has exciting results and is due to report soon.
In addition to personal orthopaedic research interests, within his role at SITU Professor Beard is also involved in many other wider surgical trials - as co-applicant, advisor, committee member or Chair - in the disciplines of rehabilitation, plastic and hand surgery, ear-nose-throat, neurosurgery, vascular surgery, head and neck, bariatric and general surgery.
More recently, Professor Beard has been working with the European Space Agency in an advisory role for long duration spaceflight research, a topic with many allegories to surgical science and the current quest for a manned mission to Mars.
Being a keen advocate and facilitator of clinical trials in surgery, SITU co-hosts with colleagues at Bristol, the well regarded BOSTiC course (Bristol and Oxford Surgical Trials Course) to teach surgical trainees about surgical trial methodology and generate new investigators. There are still a few places left at this year's course!
David will be permitted to use the official designation of FRCS (hon) after accepting invitation to a diploma passing ceremony and signing of the College Roll.