Two local experts who have made it their work to the improve the health of others have been recognised in the New Year’s Honours list.
Dr Maggie Ellis of Monifeith and Professor John Forsythe from Perth were included alongside other recipients from various walks of life across Tayside and Fife.
Dr Ellis, of the School of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of St Andrews, was given an MBE for her dedication to improving the lives of people with dementia.
She is one of three leading researchers from the University to be named this year.
The prestigious accolade has been awarded to Dr Ellis for services to dementia care and to the citizens of St Andrews.
She has dedicated a lifetime researching methods to help those with the degenerative condition, their families and professional caregivers.
Dr Ellis’s research concentrates on helping people living with advanced dementia to communicate.
Developed with her collaborator, Professor Arlene Astell of the University of Reading, ‘Adaptive Interaction’ focuses on developing meaningful ways to communicate with those who have lost speech.
Dr Ellis says: “Sometimes people living with advanced dementia who seem unable to communicate can in fact ‘talk’ to us in other ways.
“It is up to us to realise the potential and capabilities of individuals with advanced dementia and, through Adaptive Interaction, afford them re-entry onto the social world.”
Dr Ellis currently trains professional caregivers and family members to use these techniques to develop and maintain relationships with people who have advanced dementia.
In future, she hopes to focus on helping teenagers to interact with older people who have advanced dementia.
Dr Ellis also set up Dementia Friendly St Andrews in 2016 with an emphasis on taking research into practical use to provide help to those living with dementia.
Professor John Forsythe, OBE
Professor John Forsythe was awarded the accolade of OBE for services to transplant surgery and Covid-19.
Professor Forsythe is Medical Director of the Organ Donation and Transplantation (ODT) service.
Professor Forsythe, who hails from Perth, has led the ODT clinical team at the NHS Blood and Transplant service for seven years, but was due to stand down at the end of 2021.
He has had an illustrious career and was appointed as a Consultant Transplant Surgeon at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh in 1995.
Prior to this, he was a Consultant Surgeon with special interest in renal transplantation at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne.
Accolades and distinctions
Professor Forsythe has also held several committee appointments including:
- Lead Clinician for Organ Donation and Transplantation in Scotland.
- Chairman of the Scottish Donation and Transplant Group.
- Chairman of the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs Advisory Committee to all four UK health ministers.
He is a Past President of the British Transplantation Society and remains Honorary President of the British Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics.
A prolific speaker, Professor Forsythe has been awarded a number of accolades and distinctions throughout the course of his career.