BEFS Annual Lecture

24 Feb 2014

Health and the Built Environment

Sir Harry Burns MPH FRSC(Glas) FRCP(Ed) FFPH, Chief Medical Officer for Scotland

6.00pm-7.30pm, Hawthornden Lecture Theatre, National Gallery of Scotland, Weston Link, The Mound, Edinburgh (entrance via Princes Street Gardens). Refreshments from 5.30pm included. 


We are grateful to Architecture and Design Scotland for filming this event for us. 

Slides from this event are also available (pdf).

The Chief Medical Officer is the Scottish Government's principal medical adviser and is also Head of the Scottish Medical Civil Service. The post covers every aspect of health in Scotland.

Sir Harry Burns graduated in medicine from Glasgow University in 1974.  He trained in surgery in Glasgow and developed a research interest in the metabolic consequences of illness and injury.  He was appointed Honorary Consultant Surgeon and Senior Lecturer in Surgery in the University Department of Surgery at the Royal Infirmary inGlasgowin 1984.  Working with patients in the east end ofGlasgowgave him an insight into the complex inter-relationships between socio economic status and illness.  He completed a Masters Degree in Public Health in 1990 and shortly afterwards was appointed Medical Director of The Royal Infirmary. 

In 1994, he became Director of Public Health for Greater Glasgow Health Board, a position he occupied until 2005. During his time with Greater Glasgow Health Board he continued research into the problems of social determinants of health but also worked on measurement of outcomes in a variety of clinical conditions, including cancer.  In 1998, he took a part-time appointment with the Health Department in the Scottish Government and worked for 3 years as lead clinician inScotlandfor cancer care.  In the course of this work he developed Managed Cancer Networks and helped re-organise cancer services inScotland. 

In 2005, he became Chief Medical Officer for Scotland where his responsibilities include aspects of public health policy and health protection. 

Sir Harry is keen to encourage the assets based approach to people's health which focuses on behaviours and influences and also the social factors which impact people's health and wellbeing, especially in their early lives.

He is shortly to take up the new position of Professor of Global Public Health in the University of Strathclyde's Institute for Global Public Health in collaboration with the International Prevention Research Institute.