Distinguished Scientists 2012 -- Gerry Fowkes, PhD, FRCPE, FFPH, FAHA
Gerry Fowkes obtained his medical degree from the Edinburgh Medical School, Scotland, UK. Following residency training in internal medicine he was awarded a King Edward VII Fund USA scholarship which led to his appointment as Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina. He subsequently studied epidemiology and public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and completed training in community medicine with award of the Littlejohn Gairdner Medal and Prize. Appointed Senior Lecturer in the University of Wales College of Medicine, he conducted research on the use of diagnostic tests in clinical practice. Returning to the University of Edinburgh in 1985 he set up a new research programme on the epidemiology of peripheral vascular diseases, leading to his promotion to Reader and then full Professor of Epidemiology.
Dr Fowkes established a research team to carry out the Edinburgh Artery Study on the epidemiology of peripheral artery disease. In 1990, he secured a major grant from the Wolfson Foundation to set up the Wolfson Unit for Prevention of Peripheral Vascular Diseases. Support was also obtained from the British Heart Foundation to create the Peripheral Vascular Epidemiology Research Group. The unit conducted the MRC Edinburgh Claudication Study and, with Charing Cross Hospital, London, the MRC multicentre UK Small Aneurysm Trial. Also, the Wellcome Trust funded the Edinburgh Vein Study into the epidemiology of varicose veins. A second programme grant was obtained from BHF for the Aspirin for Asymptomatic Atherosclerosis (AAA) trial. In 1996 he set up the Cochrane Collaborative Review Group on Peripheral Vascular Diseases and in 2004 the international Ankle Brachial Index (ABI) Collaboration to investigate the ABI in prevention of cardiovascular disease, culminating with the award in 2009 of the PAD Coalition Population Research prize.
In addition to his role as Director of the Wolfson Unit, Dr Fowkes was Head of the Department of Public Health Sciences and Director of the Centre for Population Health Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. He has been a member of numerous international task forces, guideline development groups and scientific bodies in the vascular field, as well as in epidemiology and public health. An NHS A+ distinction award to Dr Fowkes in 2003 was in recognition of his contributions to vascular medicine and public health in the National Health Service in Scotland.
Recently, Dr Fowkes was appointed Emeritus Professor of Epidemiology in the University of Edinburgh enabling him to concentrate on international aspects of his research including the ABI Collaboration and the Global Burden of Diseases Programme.