Remembering Professor Ian Russell

Remembering Professor Ian Russell

We were deeply saddened to hear of the death of one of our former colleagues, Professor Ian Russell.

In 1987, Ian was appointed to the University of Aberdeen as the Founding Director of the Chief Scientist Office-funded Health Services Research Unit. During his time at the University he developed innovative methodology for evaluating health care that has now become the hallmark of high quality health services research internationally. It is a testament to his strategic vision, scientific integrity and personal drive that the Unit is now, 35 years later, internationally renowned as a centre of excellence in health services research.

Ian remained director of the Unit until 1993. His key contributions to health services research during that time included: pioneering work into the development and validation of patient-reported outcome measures (which are now regarded as essential components of all health services research studies); formative research into the implementation of clinical guidelines and the promotion of clinical trials of surgical interventions.

Following his time in Aberdeen, Ian continued to innovate within the field of health services research – most notably through his appointment as Founding Professor of Health Sciences at the University of York, Founding Professor of Public Health at the University of Wales, Bangor and setting up a Clinical Trials Unit at Swansea. Within these positions, he continued to make major contributions to the evaluation of complex interventions, the evaluation of surgical innovations and the measurement of health outcomes. He was later awarded an honorary degree by the University of Aberdeen for this work.

He was a deeply regarded colleague, mentor and friend, always kind and supportive. He made an immense personal contribution to the development and success of the Health Services Research Unit. He joined current staff during the celebrations for the Queen’s Anniversary Prize which was awarded to the University for sustained excellence health services research in 2018 - he always loved an opportunity to wear his kilt (which was made from University of Aberdeen tartan). His legacy continues in the Unit to this day. We send our condolences to his family.

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