Professor W. Cairns Smith, OBE, is Emeritus Professor of Public Health at the Institute of Applied Health Sciences, University of Aberdeen and Adjunct Professor at Faculty of Medicine, National University of Malaysia.
Professor Smith qualified in medicine at the University of Aberdeen and holds a MPH and a PhD from the University of Dundee. He worked in hospital posts in Scotland before spending 3 years in a leprosy centre in India.
After training in public health, he worked in the national Cardiovascular Epidemiology Unit in Scotland for 8 years before taking up the post of Director for South East Asia for Leprosy Mission and an adjunct position at the National University in Singapore. In 1994 he moved to the University of Aberdeen and became Professor and head of the Department of Public Health, and a consultant in public health at NHS Grampian.
Professor Smith has extensive experience and knowledge on leprosy and has played a significant role in the global elimination of leprosy working with the World Health Organisation and Non-Government Organisations such as the International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations and the Leprosy Mission. He was a member of the 7th WHO Expert Committee on leprosy in 1998 and was chair of the 8th Committee in 2012. He is also a member of the WHO Technical Advisory Committee on leprosy, is chair of the ILEP Technical Commission, and was chair of the Scientific Committee for the International Leprosy Congress in Brussels, 2013. Through his work in research and policy development, over 14 million patients have been treated resulting in a 90% reduction in case-load.
In 2006 Prof Smith was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in recognition of services to public health. Professor Smith now works to sustain and enhance leprosy control activities to reduce the burden of disease through research and policy as chair of the ILEP Technical Committee and as a member of the WHO Technical Advisory Group on leprosy. Professor Smith also continues to teach, supervise, advise and mentor students at the University of Aberdeen and in many other institutions internationally. In recognition of Professor Smith's substantial contributions to public and global health research and teaching we have dedicated the prize for the MSc in Global Health and Management research project in his name.
The name of the student in receipt of the award from each academic year is listed below.
- 2015/16 - Elizabeth McLeod
- 2014/15 - Gillian Noble
- 2013/14 - Eunice Vere