Professor Whitty to deliver final lecture as Gresham Professor of Physic

Medical scientist examining DNA

This week sees the final lecture by Chris Whitty in his role as Gresham Professor of Physic, a position he has held since 2018.

The Future of Health Globally will examine where world health is headed, and look back at how healthcare has improved over the last 50-100 years. It is a broadly optimistic picture.

“Health globally is improving at a really remarkable pace now and there is every reason to expect that to continue. This is due to a combination of medical science, public health and development.” Professor Whitty will say.  

The lecture will focus on how fast child mortality has been falling – down 61% globally between 1990 and 2020; although neonatal mortality in low income countries could still improve greatly with the application of existing science and technology. 

Professor Whitty will also look at where less progress is being made - for example with mental health disorders, the "public health disaster" of smoking-related illness, with smoking still growing in some countries, and newer areas of concern including obesity, antimicrobial resistance and climate change. 

Finally, he will look at how increased lifespan will mean more older people suffering from dementia and other conditions associated with aging: 

“This is a problem because medical science is basically designed around single conditions, not multiple simultaneous chronic conditions. People will be very frail and quite dependent … we need to think very seriously about how we support the oldest.”