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James Spence Medallist 1997: Dr Barbara Mary Ansell

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At the first Annual Meeting of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, in April at the University of York, the President, Professor Sir Roy Meadow, presented the James Spence Medal to Dr Barbara Ansell, with this citation.

1997 is the 100th Anniversary of George Frederic Still’s description of chronic joint disease in children. At least seven different forms of idiopathic arthritis that commence in childhood are now recognised, and no-one has done more than today’s James Spence Medallist in defining these disorders and improving their management. Dr Barbara Ansell fulfils to the limit the criteria by which our premier award, the James Spence Medal, is awarded—for outstanding contributions to the advancement or clarification of paediatric knowledge.

Barbara Ansell was educated at King’s High School for Girls in Warwick before entering, as a medical student, Birmingham University, from which she qualified in 1946. Thus, she has experienced the first 50 years of the National Health Service, and in many ways she exemplifies all that has been best about our health service in its first 50 years—the development of specialty services and, in particular, specialty services for children, the development of child and family centred services, the advent of clinical trials, the delivery of care for chronic disorders by multidisciplinary teams, and the availability of expert care on an equitable basis, and (though I hope it does not sound patronising) one of the most important aspects of today’s health service, the stature and role of women doctors, for whom opportunities previously were so limited. Dr Ansell has participated in, and led, all these developments, and we congratulate and …

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