Dame Sally Claire Davies is a British medical doctor and academic administrator. She was the chief medical officer for England and the chief scientific adviser at the Department of Health.
Dame Sally Davies is the outgoing Chief Medical Officer for England. She will take up her next post as Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, later this year. She was born in Birmingham in 1949 to academic parents - her father was an Anglican priest and theologian, her mother a scientist. She studied medicine at Manchester University and after two 'brutalising' years spent learning the job on the wards, she welcomed the opportunity to move to Madrid as a diplomat’s wife. However, she decided that she did not enjoy being - in her words - 'an appendage', and so she returned to medicine in the UK, starting in paediatrics and then moving to haematology, specialising in Sickle Cell Disease. Her first marriage didn’t last and her second ended in tragedy when her husband died of leukaemia within months of the wedding. After joining her first research scheme committee in the late 1980s, Sally widened her remit. She became Chief Scientific Adviser to the Health Secretary and, in 2011, Chief Medical Officer for England. Her achievements include creating the National Institute for Health Research, a body to oversee the funding of research in the NHS, and working tirelessly to raise awareness of the dangers of anti-microbial resistance. Sally holds 24 honorary degrees and is about to return to academia, taking up her post as the first woman Master of Trinity College in October 2019. She is married to Willem with whom she has two grown-up daughters. BOOK CHOICE: On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee LUXURY ITEM: Bubble bath CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: The Trumpet Shall Sound, from Handel's Messiah Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
Jim al-Khalili talks to Professor Dame Sally Davies about being a champion for patients and a champion for women. As Chief Medical Officer, the first woman to fill the post, she guides government decisions on pressing health issues such as antimicrobial resistance, mental health and, most recently, Ebola. Having spent many years working as a haematologist, focussing on sickle cell disease, Dame Sally now works tirelessly to put scientific evidence at the heart of Government decisions that affect out health. And it's this quest for evidence that has inspired much of her career. As Director General for Research and Development at the Department of Health, she saw the opportunity to overhaul health research in the National Health Service, focussing on the needs of patients. It was a hugely controversial idea which others had tried to implement, and failed. But she stuck to her guns and the National Institute for Health Research, which she created, is now the envy of the world. Named one of the most powerful women in the country, Dame Sally also has a powerful voice abroad. Through her work at the World Health Organisation, she's brought the world's attention to global threats like antimicrobial resistance. Producer: Beth Eastwood.
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Creator Details

Nov 24th, 1949
City of London, England, United Kingdom
Episode Count
Podcast Count
Total Airtime
1 hour, 8 minutes
Podchaser Creator ID logo 766430