Andy Hassell


red speachOne of six, I was born in Hertfordshire but spent my formative years in Sunderland, Stenhousemuir and Salford. I live in Stone with Mary, my wife, a local GP, and Ellie, the youngest of our 4 children, the others having flown the nest.

My two professional passions are rheumatology and medical education. With regards the former, I am a Consultant Rheumatologist based at the Haywood Hospital. I have been lucky enough to practise in an era when the outlook for patients with quite common diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis has changed dramatically due chiefly to drug developments coupled with greater collaboration of the multi-disciplinary team. With regards medical education, I was appointed Head of the School of Medicine at Keele in 2015. My interest in this area stems for undergraduate days, when I felt there were huge missed opportunities in undergraduate medical education. In my final year, I wrote to the Dean of my medical school with suggestions about the course – only to receive a brusque rebuff. I firmly believe that good medical education has the ability to influence the health of people, from individuals (graduates from Keele have already performed well over one million consultations) to the population, and this is what drives me.

When appointed to my current post, I identified, as one priority for the School, the development of relationships and educational opportunities in global health for several reasons. Firstly, our graduates will practise increasingly in a global context, be that by dint of the mobility of their potential patients, their own travel to practise or by the spread of health considerations, not least environmental issues, across traditional international boundaries. Secondly, a lot of our students have a strong desire to learn about global health. We tend to select a lot of altruistic students who are keen to contribute and they see opportunities to do so in global health contexts. Moreover, it is very clear that we have much to learn from other communities. Our aspiration is to work with other communities, to learn from each other and to do so in an inter-disciplinary context. I am really excited about the inter-disciplinary developments represented by the MRC-AHRC funded partnership SOLACE. The potential for medical students to work with students within arts and humanities in a global health context is particularly exciting and I am very keen to make whatever contribution I can.